In some ways, the results of Tuesday’s election couldn’t be clearer: A strong win for the Republicans – not only retaking the Senate, but dominating the country’s gubernatorial races (Colorado aside, of course, when it came to the latter).
But in other ways, the message of the election isn’t immediately obvious.
Did people vote Republican because they back the Republican message and platform?
Or did people not vote Democrat because they’ve had enough of Obama?
In other words, was the election a mandate for Republicans or a referendum on Obama?
To our way of thinking, it’s more the latter than the former.
The message we heard from many Republican candidates focused on dissatisfaction with the direction Obama is steering the country. That kind of gut message likely resonated with people far more than the nuts and bolts of the Republican platform.
Dissatisfaction may have gotten the Republicans back in the driving seat, but complacency won’t keep them there. Nor will focusing on Obama’s shortcomings. If Republicans want to be successful in the next election, they’ll have to ensure that people vote for them because of their platform, from a positive rather than negative place. They have two years to prove that they can accomplish at what they say Obama is failing.
Do you agree that the election was essentially a referendum on Obama? Or did voters respond to Republican proposals on bread-and-butter issues?
For full election results, check out this handy interactive map from Washington Post.