Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 3, 2009
POLITICS: Election Day 2009
Today will be the first real test of the public political mood a year after Obama's election, three years into Democratic control of Congress, with elections for Governor and state legislators in New Jersey and Virginia (in each of which the Democrats have held the Governorship for 8 years), the New York City Mayor, and the special elections in New York's 23d Congressional District and California's 10th.
Some of these are easy calls. Bob McDonnell is running away from Creigh Deeds in Virginia, with the main question being the length of McDonnell's coattails in the legislature; the latter, rather than any serious belief that Deeds can be rescued, is why President Obama has campaigned hard for Deeds (control of the statehouses in a handful of big states, Virginia and New Jersey among them, will be crucial in redistricting following the 2010 census). Mayor Bloomberg should easily be re-elected. The GOP should gain at least some seats in the NJ Legislature. CA-10 is likely to go to the Democrats.
The others are harder to call. Jon Corzine's in terrible straits, an unpopular, scandal-tarred incumbent heading a notoriously corrupt state party, and as a result he has polled above 43% in one poll in the RCP index all year (an early October Rasmussen poll that had him trailing 47-44). Even Nate Silver isn't willing to predict a Corzine victory. But the Democrats have been pouring resources into making robocalls in favor of third party conservative/libertarian candidate Chris Daggett, hoping to split the vote. If forced to make a prediction, I'd predict that Christie will get more votes today, but Corzine will win the race by means of a recount. The usual rule of thumb holds that if the polls are within 5 points, a NJ Republican can't overcome the way New Jersey politics works on the ground.
As for NY-23, the race is fluid, but a number of late polls seem to show that the collapse of support for ACORN- and union-backed "Republican" Dede Scozzafava following her withdrawal from the face and endorsement of the Democrat has mostly benefitted conservative candidate Doug Hoffman, so I'd cautiously predict a Hoffman victory large enough to avoid a recount.