Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reality Vs. Perception In New Jersey And Virginia GOP Victories

Do Republican gubernatorial victories in New Jersey and Virginia spell trouble for President Obama, who campaigned especially hard for Jon Corzine (left)? Not if one realizes that the electorate was focused on state issues and not the President. From a CNN analysis:

Further proof that this election was not solely focused on Obama, 56 percent of Virginians said that the president was not a factor when it came down to their vote. In New Jersey, that number increased to 60 percent of the people who went to the polls on Tuesday.

The New York Times reported a similar finding:

Voters in both states remained strongly supportive of President Obama, exit polls conducted by Edison Research showed, though they said that was not a factor in their decisions.

That's the reality of the election–but there's also the perception, including the media spin:

Still, in the coming days a storyline will develop that this was a referendum on Obama and his policies.

Naturally, we can expect Fox, the propaganda arm of the Republican party, to spin this narrative. In fact, its ratings have been boosted following election night.

The problem is that some Democrats, mistaking perception for reality, will try to appear as Republican Lite. That never works. Those who want Republicans in office will vote for the real thing. Independents will not respect unprincipled politicians, and Democrats will be alienated:

Jane Hamsher, founder of the liberal political blog firedoglake, noted that it is freshmen and sophomore Democrats who won by narrow margins in 2006 and 2008, who "are scared" of losing their seats in 2010.

"I would suggest that appealing to Republican interests is not the best way to turn out Democrats," Hamsher said. "It is just a fact of life. They have to turn out Democrats."

1 comment:

Emily said...

This is not directly related, but too good not to share: