Late this afternoon, CBS News is headlining that "Democrats Face Setbacks in Elections" at their website. This update came at 3:30 PM ET:
President Barack Obama's Democrats faced the possibility of symbolic setbacks Tuesday in elections for governors in the states of New Jersey and Virginia and a congressional race, as Obama aides downplayed the impact of the off-year votes.This does not necessarily mean anything, but often news organizations will begin to run articles that drop clues based on the information they are getting. Now, in 2004, they were notoriously wrong about John Kerry based on Exit Polls, but very often the clues they drop turns out to be pretty close to accurate, especially if what they say is negative news for Democrats. It has to be really bad for the mainstream media to put out negative news about the Dems prospects.
Beyond the immediate outcome of the elections, results in those races and a handful of other contests nationwide will go under the microscope as the nation's political class looks for clues about the future direction of the country, chances that Obama's Democrats will retain power in the 2010 midterm vote or signs of a resurgence among wobbly Republicans.
"I don't think looking at the two gubernatorial races you can draw with any great insight what's going to happen a year from now," said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs.
Traditionally, midterm voting works in favor of the party out of power as the president hits the midway point in his term and voters begin feeling dissatisfaction with their representation in Congress.
In the few races of consequence this year, late polls in New Jersey showed incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in a too-close-to-predict race against Republican Chris Christie, a former prosecutor, despite a series of campaign appearances for Corzine by Obama.
"I think there, if Corzine does pull out a victory, it's not going to be so much because Barack Obama came there to campaign for him," says CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer. "It's going to be because he poured a lot of his enormous wealth into negative campaign ads against his opponent. If he wins, that will be the difference this time around." . . . . MORE
Again, this may mean nothing, but it will be interesting to see.