Particularly in Virginia — which in recent years has emerged as an emblematic swing state — most Democratic politicians Tuesday night and Wednesday were frank in seeing worrisome trends and eager to see Democrats, starting with Obama, do more to emphasize fiscal responsibility.

In contrast to the Obama’s team sanguine analysis, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) told POLITICO, “We got walloped.”

Many Democratic politicians and operatives publicly and privately say Obama’s “big bang” strategy — trying to move several major policy initiatives in his first year — has also caused independent voters to question whether he is sufficiently focused on their primary concern, reviving the stagnant economy.

“Every Dem who is up in either 2010 or 2012 knows that last night was big — if the right wing hadn’t meddled in New York’s 23rd, that would have gone GOP, too,” said former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey, adding that he fears Democrats may be heading for a repeat of some 1990s history. “The electorate appears restless and angry. If they begin to ‘vote the bums out’ as they did in 1994, Democrats know that the next election is going to be extremely difficult.”