“The biggest misreported part of this election is that you have large numbers of independents who went for Obama now going for the Republicans. Not true,” said Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia…

While a major storyline coming out of Tuesday’s results has been that skittish moderates abandoned Obama and fled to the GOP out of concerns over rising deficits, there is little evidence in exit polls to support that. Of Obama voters who showed up in Virginia Tuesday, only 12% slid to Republican Bob McDonnell, according to exit polls. With John McCain’s 2008 voters defecting to Deeds at a 5% rate in the same surveys, the net trickle away from Obama is hardly enough to explain, or even substantially contribute to, McDonnell’s 59% to 41% trouncing of Democrat Creigh Deeds…

The answer to the question of whether independents are abandoning Obama has profound implications for the White House’s strategy going into next year. If Democratic candidates are likely to lose because of moderates’ fears about Obama’s policies, he may need to trim his policy sails or take aggressive steps to rein in the deficit. But if the main problem was a lack of turnout among the young people and African-Americans who went to the polls to back Obama last year, the president’s team may mount a full-court press for bold action on health care, climate change and other liberal priorities.