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Exit Polls: Obama as (non) factor?

The early exit polls in Virginia and New Jersey are in (out?) and the most striking thing to us in the data is that a majority of voters in both states said that President Barack Obama was not a factor in their vote and in each state the chief executive's job approval rating was above 50 percent.

While these are early returns -- we CAN'T emphasize that strongly enough -- they do suggest that Obama's role in determining the outcome of either race (for good or bad) may have been overstated (gasp!) in the run-up to today's vote.

That doesn't mean, of course, that across-the board defeats for Democrats tonight wouldn't be cast -- at least in some circles -- as a refutation of Obama but it does provide the president's party with a potentially powerful push back assuming the numbers stay the same.

And for those who want to know what the head-to-head matchups look like in the exit polls, you're out of luck. No data about the direction of a specific race can be released until polls close in a particular state.

Until then....

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 3, 2009; 5:48 PM ET
Categories:  Governors , White House  
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Next: VA-Gov: Rocking the suburbs

Comments

chris,you can't explain nothing to the republicans who still don't want to admit that this man is more credible,intelligent,and better at governing than the last president.

they act like,and they really force themselves to believe that the economy,wars,are the work and failure of president obama..WELL ITS NOT!!

and now that you point out how the exit polls in the 2 state governers race conclude that most voters,(over 50 percent showing their approval of our president),said their voting had nothing to do with obama,GREAT!!

now its obvious that president obama's communication director was right,fox is opinion based story telling,and i won't even call it journalism,lol..

but,as always,obama didn't lose nothing tonight..he is and always will be the better person for this job..and still,he beat the republican lead rove,limbaugh,kristol machine,YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Earl02 | November 4, 2009 2:24 AM | Report abuse

"Now if we can just see the last of Pelosi, Frank, Dodd, Reid, Boxer and a few other Spendocrats in 2010."

One thing that would surely increase your odds would be producing a few Republicans who were successful at governing. Who knows, maybe Christie or McDonnell will pull it off.

Posted by: nodebris | November 4, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Now if we can just see the last of Pelosi, Frank, Dodd, Reid, Boxer and a few other Spendocrats in 2010.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | November 3, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

I got to admit to feeling a bit guilty for ragging on Chris for being such a gooper tool when I see the real gooper tools ragging on him for being a spineless liberal pansy.

Posted by: nodebris | November 3, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Re. Analysis by Chris Cillizza

O pushed hard to keep these states. They are important to keeping his agenda advancing. Whoever hired you to analyze anything other than a cereal box should be given a cabinet post in his dying administration.

Posted by: christopher7291 | November 3, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

"Already the Post is spinning this loss...if Deeds were to win, of course it would be due to Obama's popularity...if Deeds loses big time....well, it certainly has nothing to do with Obama." Posted by: JCM-51

There it is in a nutshell and a tip of the hat to JCM-51......no one could have stated this better or more concisely!!

Posted by: OregonStorm | November 3, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

You are making the assumption that everyone is on a level playing field.

==

You are making the assumption that he has a brain. I've seen enough of his posts to know this is not so.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 3, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Every $1 in tax cuts brings back less than $1

==

9ยข

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 3, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

CFECEW -- the cheerful, soilent green-eating voice of Conservatives everywhere.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | November 3, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"I saw figures elsewhere indicating 20 to 24 percent of voters in Va. and N.J. cited their dissatisfactin with Obama and his agenda as a factor in their vote."

Ah, that 20-something percent that thinks Bush did a good job and Iraq was behind 911. Funny thing -- not even all of them are Republicans anymore!

Posted by: nodebris | November 3, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

"Want a high paying job? Get an education and job experience. Move to where the work is.
Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | November 3, 2009 7:55 PM "
---
You are making the assumption that everyone is on a level playing field.

Posted by: JRM2 | November 3, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I saw figures elsewhere indicating 20 to 24 percent of voters in Va. and N.J. cited their dissatisfaction with Obama and his agenda as a factor in their vote. While those numbers don't sound high, it's actually remarkably significant when you consider it's affecting local elections. That the Washington Post is already going out of its way to pooh-pooh this is telling of what the formerly mainstream media's story line is going to be after the Democratic butt-whipping tonight.

Posted by: UpNorthOutWest | November 3, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I saw figures elsewhere indicating 20 to 24 percent of voters in Va. and N.J. cited their dissatisfactin with Obama and his agenda as a factor in their vote. While those numbers don't sound high, it's actually remarkably significant when you consider it's affecting local elections. That the Washington Post is already going out of its way to pooh-pooh this is telling of what the formerly mainstream media's story line is going to be after the Democratic butt-whipping tonight.

Posted by: UpNorthOutWest | November 3, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

"HokieDoke", even better word play.

You are right in bed with Calvin Coolidge and the party that screamed the same sentiments during the great depression.

The stimulus doesn't just bring us jobs, it brings the repairing of our infrastructure, innovative technologies, better education.

Oh, and TAX CUTS.

I could go on.

Every $1 spent eventually brings back $1.50
Every $1 in tax cuts brings back less than $1

It is basic economic theory.

Posted by: JRM2 | November 3, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Whatever you want to believe, WaPo.

Posted by: drumcrn1 | November 3, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Today, Virginia and the statehouse. Tomorrow, onto the nation.

==

hahhahahahaha

clutch them straws, Jethro

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 3, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

WAPO - Here's tomorrow's weather report-

Obummer.

Today, Virginia and the statehouse. Tomorrow, onto the nation.

We will not be silenced. We will not be dismissed. We will not be pushed around.

We are the taxpayers that make this country run.

Want health insurance? Get a freakin' job. I work for mine and so can you.

Want a high paying job? Get an education and job experience. Move to where the work is.

Desperate times are crerated by desperate people.

King Obimbo and his merry crew of theives are desperate.

Hey, here's a message for that lame duck Gerry Connolly. Voting for Cap & Tax was one thing. Vote for the HR3200 and pack your bags, because "You're Fired!!!"

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | November 3, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JRM2 | November 3, 2009 7:28 PM: Good to know that the Repukes have the common man at interest by delaying unemployment benefits.
------------
"Repukes" - nice word play.

To be serious though, you do know that these unemployment benefits (along with every other handout/stimulus) that Republicans don't want to continue to dish out do have to be repaid right? By you and every other taxpayer in the state to the federal government beginning in 2011. What's the point in delaying the inevitable until then, with interest, when we can just get the suffering over with now, save some money to fix our budgets and thrive in the coming years.

This stimulus and extended unemployment benefits are nothing but band-aids on a amputation. The majority of the money from the Feds that have been dished out are going to keep teachers employed this year. Education is the largest local/state spending program. All we're doing is continuing the bad habits by borrowing more and more money and overspending. I don't care about raising taxes to pay what's needed to make status quo right now, but to give federal dollars to keep a state employee employed or an unemployed worker continuously unemployed is not what is needed.

Posted by: HokieDoke | November 3, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, but why is Obama a "non-factor" if Obama's personal approval remains just over 50%?

That's way down, from much loftier levels that seemed to be a major factor in his original election.

Also, approval is not a zero sum game. If you will admit to the possible emergence of Republican candidates with slightly better approval ratings than 50%, and/or with policies might appeal more to a big government weary population come 2010, why is 50% supposed to give Obama or the Democrats any comfort?

Posted by: lsm47 | November 3, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

"Health reform now delayed after the end of the year, unemployment extention still delayed = no Wins for Democrats period!

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager101"
----
As for health reform, isn't it the repuke-agains that are saying "what is the rush?"

Good to know that the Repukes have the common man at interest by delaying unemployment benefits.
and
This is nothing but repugs taking back some lost territory

So far, NO gains for repukes.

Posted by: JRM2 | November 3, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

The election was over before the polls opened thanks to Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the corrupt Federal Communist Dems, no matter how many SEIU and ACORN busloads they bring in from out of state to vote for the socialists!

And it's just a start - the ultra liberal Webb and Warner are next!

Posted by: Patriot12 | November 3, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse


So, 269 stupid articles about a 2 decades old college paper about didn't help your candidate Wapo?

Posted by: playfair109 | November 3, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

This is so typical of a publication that spent so much effort in promoting the Democrat in Virginia. Hmmm.

Didn't the Post say something about how the elections back when W. Bush was president that it WAS a backlash against HIS policies?

Th Post thinks their readers are stupid. Perhaps that is one reason people are not buying their paper anymore.

Posted by: RGovtal | November 3, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

How does electing Republicans make Virginia pretend they are not really Republicans?

Posted by: thelaw1 | November 3, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Imagine that....the media has overhyped something....gee, what a surprise!!!

Posted by: WildBill1 | November 3, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Gee... Too bad that the Wash Post didn't do a better job of energizing the Deeds base in strident opposition to McDonnell based on the latter's 20-year old grad school thesis. WaPo only ran... what?... 58 articles on the subject or something?

Funny how we've never seen any articles on Barry's Columbia Senior Thesis. Something about nuclear weapons, I've heard -- where's Walter Pincus when you need him? Nor has the WaPo ever dissected any of Barry's Law Review articles hew wrote at Harvard... Wait, he didn't write any Law Review articles, did he?

Oh well... as a bitter man, clinging to my guns and bible in Pennsylavnia (well, close; Prudhoe Bay, Alaska just now), I'll savor the evening. Let luck be a lady tonight!


Posted by: ArcticFox1 | November 3, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Other than a few Birthers and tea baggers here in WA, we haven't seen much about Obama in any of the races, except maybe King County Exec.

But the eventual WA results will be mostly due to a continued turnout of a lot of people who first became active because of Obama, and the America-hating Republic Party of No birthers who hate our values and our country.

Posted by: WillSeattle | November 3, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

This is pretty stupid. This is far more a referendum on Republicans than it is on Obama. Just look at how the Republicans are campaigning. They are really trying to hide the fact that they are Republicans. McDonnell is basically running as a RINO. Same with Christie. Hell, the RNC chased out the Republican candidate from NY-23. Hell, look at their websites. Bob McDonnell's webpage looks just like Obama's webpage. He might be Republican, but you won't know it by looking at his blue webpage. Christie's website is also Democratic blue. Is he Democrat? Is he Republican? Gosh, I can't tell from his webpage.

Obama may have slipped a little in popularity, but make no mistake. This country DESPISES Republicans for what they did to our country during the Bush administration.

McDonnell is downplaying his thesis despite the fact that he still espoused the ideals in his legislative tenure. Christie is trying to pretend he has no ties to the Bush administration.

Yeah, this is a referendum, but not on Obama. This is a referendum on whether you can win as a Republican running as a Republican. Sure as hell doesn't seem like it.


http://www.bobmcdonnell.com/

http://www.barackobama.com/

Posted by: DDAWD | November 3, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Although the Zealot Politicos (on all sides of the spectrum) are not likely ever to admit it, the real "take away" from the VA Governor's race - assuming McDonnell wins in a walk as has been predicted - will be that victory goes to the candidate who is best packaged and slickest speaking, not to the candidate who is best qualified to govern and to execute the will of the people. The same lesson can be gained from the 2008 Presidential election campaign (as a whole, including primaries).

Unless we as a people become significantly more knowledgeable about, and invested in, our political process and the qualifications of the persons we choose to entrust with our power, our elections are doomed to continue being such "beauty contests", with predictably disappointing results.

Posted by: nan_lynn | November 3, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry. I have total faith in journalists' ability to maintain the narrative they have constructed. I have a lot of respect for the profession, but let's face it, they stink at even the slightest slice of introspection.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 3, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Already the Post is spinning this loss...if Deeds were to win, of course it would be due to Obama's popularity...if Deeds loses big time....well, it certainly has nothing to do with Obama.

Posted by: JCM-51 | November 3, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Already the Post is spinning this loss...if Deeds were to win, of course it would be due to Obama's popularity...if Deeds loses big time....well, it certainly has nothing to do with Obama.

Posted by: JCM-51 | November 3, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

So much for all that "referendum on Obama" crap.

Hoffman wins: GOP energized and pushing for more moderates to be purged in favor of green-teeth social conservatives

Hoffman loses: GOP defiant (the rest is the same)

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 3, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

That just shows what Democrats in VA have been saying all along - this race is about local issues, not national issues. Unfortunately the Deeds campaign didn't do enough to capitalize on it.

Posted by: notjoeabbey | November 3, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Most of the punditry is so predictable I hardly bother listening to it anymore. If (as I imagine it will be) its the case the GOP wins these races tonight, this will be cause for the Washington media to breathlessly pronounce some grand vision of doom for Democrats in next year's races. As if such a thing is knowable in Nov of 2009!

Posted by: zeppelin003 | November 3, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

They might survive this if they do a HUGE news conference with reporters and point the finger at the Republicans for the delay.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | November 3, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Health reform now delayed after the end of the year, unemployment extention still delayed = no Wins for Democrats period!

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | November 3, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

The most interesting thing about this election will be the lesson the GOP chooses to take from it. Do they double down on crazy a la NY, or pretend they aren't even really Republicans, a la Virginia?

Posted by: nodebris | November 3, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

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