Virginia and New Jersey are the only two states that elect governors in the year following a presidential election. That means both will hold elections for governor in 2013.
Here’s how the two states have voted for governor going back to 1977. There’s a pattern.
Both states have a tradition of electing governors from the party that just lost the White House. In New Jersey, the tradition goes back to 1989. In Virginia, it goes back to 1977.
That’s because the electorate shrinks radically in the off year election. In New Jersey, 3.9 million people voted for President in 2008. In 2009, only 2.4 million voted for governor. In Virginia, the electorate shrank from 3.7 million in 2008 to 2.0 million in 2009. The winning presidential party loses its bonus voters—people who vote once every four years, mostly for the winner.
Will the tradition continue in 2013? Right now, Republican Chris Christie looks like a good bet for re-election in New Jersey. His approval ratings since Hurricane Sandy have been soaring. Virginia will be a tougher test. The Republican candidate is likely to be Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli has taken intensely controversial positions on abortion, gun control, climate change, health care reform, immigration and gay rights. If “Cooch” is nominated and loses, it would provide yet more evidence that Republicans are throwing away elections by going too far to the right.
Historically, Independents have tended to split their vote for House members between the Democratic and Republican Parties by only a few points. But recently, Independents have become more volatile. In 2006, Independents voted for Democrats by 17 points. But in 2010, they picked Republicans by 18 points. Independents aren’t party loyalists. They swing between the parties— more dramatically now than any time in the past 30 years.
Moderates Hold The Keys: Dems need 60% to win the White House
To win in the Electoral College, a Democratic Presidential candidate needs to dominate among moderate voters. A simple majority isn’t enough— Democrats generally need 60% to declare victory. The only Democrat to nab the White House without hitting that mark was Carter in 1976, but he pulled over 30% of conservatives, a level no Democratic candidate has even approached in the years since.
Moderate Majority: Democrats Win Most Of Their Presidential Votes From The Middle
In every single Presidential election in the modern era, moderates have made up a majority of those voting for the Democratic candidate. The same is not true of Republicans; in fact, since 1984, conservatives have consistently been the largest source of their votes. Win or lose, moderates make up the base of Democratic Presidential coalitions.
“If President Obama wants to go into this debate like Joe Biden last week, that won’t go over with an audience of undecided voters… They want problem-solving, and their most deeply held belief is that politics is the enemy of problem-solving.”
Bill Schneider, Senior Fellow and Resident Scholar at Third Way to NPR.
With the first 2012 presidential debate slated for Wednesday night, we thought it might be helpful to pass along a few suggestions — some more substantive than others — to the participants.
We were inspired by a memo recently issued by Third Way, a Democratic advisory group — as reported by The Wall Street Journal. The memo offers a slew of helpful hints, including:
Start by writing your “dream” post-debate headline.
Develop a list of the three items you MUST say in the debate … use it as a checklist before each answer — see if you can fit one in your answer.
Punches are good; counterpunches are better.
Study what your opponent has been saying, especially in the days just before debate … 90 percent of what your opponent will say in the debate will have come out of his mouth in the week before.
Begin answers with “yes” or “no” if possible; answer first, then explain. … Voters will see you as candid and responsive.
The author of the memo is Ron Klain, who served as chief of staff to Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden. Klain has also prepped several Democrats, including then-Gov. Bill Clinton in 1992 and Sen. John Kerry in 2004, for presidential debates.
Because Klain is helping Obama prepare this time around, the memo takes on additional import. But does it go far enough?
As a public service, we offer even more friendly, unsolicited advice to the candidates, from specialists in various fields.
With both parties about to head to key battleground states for their National Conventions, the time is ripe to delve into how these states—and 6 other crucial battlegrounds—have changed since the last time around. In our newest analysis of the numbers in the 8 presidential battleground states with partisan voter registration, we find:
Democratic registration is down 800,329, or 5.2%;
Republican registration is down 78,985, or 0.7%; and,
Can Republicans sell austerity? That’s the message Mitt Romney is sending by naming Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate.
The Ryan move signals a major redefinition of the Romney campaign. It’s no longer about creating jobs and turning around the economy. It’s about fiscal discipline and turning around the budget. That’s Ryan’s calling. He is, after all, chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Why is Romney doing this? Simple. The old campaign wasn’t working. Voters are getting the message: Romney’s experience was not in creating jobs. It was in creating wealth — for himself and his investors. That’s what private equity firms do. The polls, which have been virtually tied all year, are beginning to show an Obama lead. Romney is under pressure to change course — fast. Hence, Ryan.