Does two make a trend?
By Ben Pershing
When reporters look for patterns worthy of coverage, they usually follow a rule -- three makes a trend.
Three or more similar examples are enough to merit a story. So what exactly does it mean that Republicans won governor's races Tuesday in two states that backed President Obama in 2008? Does two make a trend in this case? And what about the race in New York's 23rd district that supposedly heralded the rise of conservatives but instead just became a Democratic pickup? The morning-after analysis shows little consensus on the answers to those questions. The results surely matter, but no one can say yet quite how much.
The GOP wins in New Jersey and Virginia, Adam Nagourney writes, "put the party in a stronger position to turn back the political wave President Obama unleashed last year, setting the stage for Republicans to raise money, recruit candidates and ride the excitement of an energized base as the party heads into next year's midterm elections." Dan Balz cautions that "off-year elections can be notoriously unreliable as predictors of the future," but the results still "delivered clear warnings for the Democrats." Howard Fineman surmises that "the deep skepticism that the (shrunken) electorate showed toward Democratic candidates can't be interpreted in any other way than as a vote of not-quite-confidence in the man in the White House."
Posted at 8:27 AM ET on Nov 4, 2009
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