These elections mean nothing!

In the 15 gubernatorial elections since 1949, the voters of New Jersey and Virginia have chosen governors belonging to the same party 10 times (seven Democrats, three Republicans). In five of those 10 elections, the party winning both governorships went on to pick up seats in the House and Senate the next year. In three, a sweep of the statehouses augured precisely the opposite result in the subsequent congressional election. Once, Democrats won both governors’ races and went on to get a split result (losing seats in one chamber of Congress, gaining them in another). Once, the same thing happened to Republicans. Not a particularly compelling pattern…

Does it make any difference which state the Republican (or Democratic) winner is from? Not really. Of the three times a Democrat won in Virginia while a Republican was elected in New Jersey, Democrats won seats twice and lost seats once. In the two split verdicts in which the Republican took the Virginia statehouse while the Democrat won New Jersey’s, Democrats — you guessed it — won seats once and lost seats once.

As Maine goes, so goes the nation, the saying goes. When it comes to Virginia and New Jersey, though, there’s no predictive value.

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