From Double-Digit Lead to Virginia Squeaker: Are Obama and ObamaCare Now Kryptonite for Vulnerable Dems?
Virginia election shows Obamacare can be used as political weapon
By Stephen Dinan-The Washington Times
Democrats spent heavily to win the Virginia governorship Tuesday, but Republicans said by making the race far closer than polls had projected just a few weeks ago, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli’s campaign showed how much of a weapon Obamacare can be in the hands of the GOP.
In the two biggest elections of the night — the New Jersey and Virginia governor’s races — neither Democratic candidate topped 50 percent. Indeed, between purple-state Virginia and deep-blue New Jersey, the Republican candidates combined for 2.2 million votes, or 400,000 more than the Democratic candidates.
The results will leave many Republicans wondering about what-ifs in Virginia, including what would have happened if the GOP in Washington hadn’t gotten caught up in a government shutdown for most of October, and if major donors had pumped a little more money into the race in the closing days.
“If we had had five more days, or 5 million more dollars, we would have won,” said Michael McKenna, a Republican strategist in Virginia, who also said Tuesday’s results will be studied by candidates heading into the next two federal elections. “Obamacare is toxic. Democratic senators up in either 2014 or 2016 are probably terrified at what happened in Virginia.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s easy path to re-election underscored how well Republicans can do when they are seen as strong leaders — even when voters disagree with them on specific issues such as gay marriage or taxes. In Virginia, meanwhile, exit polling showed voters fed up with both Mr. Cuccinelli and Mr. McAuliffe, though the electorate appeared to fear the Republican more than the Democrat.
Still, the final results in Virginia were far closer than polls suggested just days ago.
At the end of the government shutdown, Mr. McAuliffe held leads of as much as 17 percentage points. But with the shutdown over, Mr. Cuccinelli and national Republican figures argued that Virginia’s election was a referendum on Obamacare — and the polls began to tighten, ending with Mr. McAuliffe’s narrow 2 percentage-point victory on Tuesday.
Exit polling showed 41 percent of Virginians “strongly oppose” the health care law, while only 27 percent “strongly support” the law. Of voters who said health care was the most important issue in their vote, Mr. Cuccinelli topped Mr. McAuliffe, 49 percent to 45 percent.
Mr. Cuccinelli’s big stumble came on social issues, with a large chunk of voters saying abortion was their chief concern, and Mr. McAuliffe overwhelmingly winning those voters, 59 percent to 34 percent.
That showing will give ammunition to Democrats who say their party should continue to accuse Republicans of a war on women — a message that helped Mr. Obama win re-election last year.
In New Jersey, the polling on Obamacare was a little closer, with 34 percent strongly opposed and 23 percent strongly supporting it.
Virginia squeaker sends shivers through Dems
By Chris Stirewalt, Fox News First
Published November 06, 2013 FoxNews.com
VIRGINIA SQUEAKER SENDS SHIVERS THROUGH DEMS - Vulnerable Democrats must have watched in dismay as Democrat Terry McAuliffe barely clung to victory on Tuesday. Having spent three times more money than his rival and with the backing of his popular patrons, Bill and Hillary Clinton, McAulliffe was breezing to victory just three weeks ago. But his once-stout lead in the polls over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli nearly vanished as voter outrage over the crash landing of ObamaCare nearly wrecked the race. A double-digit lead turned into a three-point scrape. Exit polls showed intense opposition to ObamaCare that helped Cuccinelli, who was written off by the national GOP and who had to lug along the scandal-plagued administration of Republican incumbent Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Exit strategy - It looks like if Cuccinelli had another week to tag McAuliffe for his unflinching support of President Obama’s unpopular new entitlement, the race might have ended differently. What if he would have had another year? That’s the reality facing vulnerable Democrats on the 2014 election cycle. As Republican candidates without Cuccinelli’s structural problems contemplate months and months of public frustrations with administrative failures, cancelled policies and premium spikes, the path to a Senate majority starts to look a little clearer as the fortunes of Democrats in red states and swing states continues to dim.
“Democrats had to come up with plan. They couldn’t possibly stand by because of the administration’s inability to produce functioning Web site.” – Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., on “Fox and Friends.”