November 4th, 2009
09:34 AM ET
5 years ago

Analysis: Elections not a referendum on Obama

Were the 2009 elections really a referendum on President Obama?
Were the 2009 elections really a referendum on President Obama?

Washington (CNN) – Victories in New Jersey and Virginia Tuesday provided a major shot in the arm for the Republican Party heading into the 2010 elections, but the Democratic losses of these two governorships should not be interpreted as a significant blow to President Obama.

While the economy and jobs were the chief concern for voters in both states, 26 percent of New Jersey residents said property taxes was also a major issue, while another 20 percent mentioned corruption, according to CNN exit polling. In a similar CNN survey taken in Virginia, health care was the most important issue for 24 percent of the voters, while 15 percent named taxes and transportation was mentioned by 7 percent.

Further proof that this election was not solely focused on Obama, 56 percent of Virginians said that the president was not a factor when it came down to their vote. In New Jersey, that number increased to 60 percent of the people who went to the polls on Tuesday.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Obama the Destroyer

    Washington (CNN) – Victories in New Jersey and Virginia Tuesday provided a major shot in the arm for the Republican Party heading into the 2010 elections, but the Democratic losses of these two governorships should not be interpreted as a significant blow to President Obama.

    .........I believe this is what they call whistling past the graveyard. Keep whistling and playing that fiddle folks.

    November 4, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. Clint

    Why isn't there a story about a referendum for Obama by the defeat of the conservative candidate in NY's 23rd Congressional district. I thought that was supposed to be the big throw down between reactionaries and Democrats?

    November 4, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. jp,michigan

    The people of America are using their power, the power of the voting booth. If you don't like how things are and the people who are in charge, get rid of them, with your vote!

    November 4, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  4. Enough

    Whatever you say...............it is the tax and spend policies of the Democrats that are getting very old. The Tax paying citizens are sick of the out of control spending.

    November 4, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  5. Kat

    Oh yes they are. Get the message and get it loud and clear. We are tired of Washington taking everything we have and just throwing it away. We need change sir, but not Your change.

    November 4, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. Butch

    Spin it however you want CNN....

    You've said all this time that Obama is god and the Republicans are dead. A year in to Obama's term and people are already sick of democrats. Maybe Fox isn't the only slanted network on TV? Maybe we're sick of democrats because of all the slanted over-exposure of them on CNN, MSNBC, etc.

    Maybe then, it's a referendum on CNN?

    November 4, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. LIP

    CNN gets it wrong again. This is just the beginning of the change we need. Hopefully the Republicans will get their ducks in a row this time around and not let the victory go to their collective heads and fail by squandering the opportunity.

    November 4, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Ilene

    I'm sure that's not the spin that you will be hearing in the conservative talk show set.

    November 4, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  9. Nurse

    Let's see , job's , taxes , corruption......sounds like Obama to me ?

    November 4, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  10. Peggy - TX

    These two tiny, backward New England states are not al all significant in a national election and do not refect on President Obama. Clearly the people there did not base their votes on what was in their best interest, but instead voted based on lies and misinformation that fed their invalid prejudices and irrational fears.

    November 4, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. Amy from Michigan

    I agree it's not a referendum on Obama, but it is on the Democrats!

    Dems have all the power in Washington, and they aren't doing a thing!

    We voted for change-not for Dems. The voters STILL want change, and we'll keep voting for change-ANY CHANGE- until we get it.

    November 4, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. Dave

    If it is no big deal to the President, then why did he spend time campaigning for the Democrat candidates?

    November 4, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. Robin

    I think this is sending a very clear message that people are fed up. This will become very apparent in 2010 and 2012.

    November 4, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. Ted

    Weak candidates in Va & NJ give hope to GOP for 2010 but they should focus on 23rd NY for true guidance or pay the price.

    November 4, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  15. Keith in Austin

    Yeah right CNN! Hahahaha. Trust me, if Obama was governing from a moderate position like he promised throughout his campaign, yesterday's elections would have been a lot different! Obozo's radical tax and spend policies are resonating loudly and the American people conveyed their displeasure yesterday. Plain and simple.

    November 4, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. Mark

    Change in VA and NJ we can believe in!

    November 4, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. brian

    Here are some facts for the people that the MSM might want to report on:

    1. NJ/VA governorships for the last 25-30 years have ALWAYS gone to the opposite party of the president. So what happened in these two states is what ALWAYS happens.

    2. The Dems gained two more seats in congress: CA-10 and NY-23.

    3. NY-23 had not elected a Dem since the Civil War.

    4. The Teabaggers lost when the booted the moderate Rep off the ticket in NY-23 and the more moderate candidates in VA/NJ won. So if the Teabaggers want to primary next year all moderate Reps, go ahead because they will be handing the Dems an even bigger majority.

    Of course you won't hear any of the above because the MSM loves them a catfight.

    November 4, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. j

    It's amazing how quickly people forget that it was the Republicans that got us into this economic mess we're in and it's the Republicans that are doing everything they can to obstruct any real effort for recovery.

    People are idiots to let themselves fall prey to the typical Republican scare tactics, which is the only way they seem to know how to campaign.

    I'll take a progressive Democrat over a Republican any day. At least they have ideas and are working to make this country better.

    November 4, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. Sue

    Well, CNN is wrong – Obama's useless performance so far has proven that Americans are NOT HAPPY with him. Maybe if he stopped vacationing, entertaining, and pretending he is a sports contender he will GET TO HIS JOB!!!!!!

    November 4, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. james

    I find it interesting how CNN and MSNBC were just so depresssed last night at the election results from NJ and VA came in with the GOP sweeping the two races...almost as though their investment just dropped 50% in value and it was a shock and awe to the system. Do you really think NJ was not a referendum on the Obama administration??? really? do you really think so? If so, then why is it that the president, admist 10% unemployment, 2 wars and a deficit that is running out of control paid 5 visits to NJ to campaign for Corzine in the last few months???? perhaps the liberal network spin is that he and Corzine are BFF. yes, perhaps that's it!!!......oh please.

    November 4, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. Really

    Of course they are not. That would be a negative for Obama and that can never happen. Taxes were one of the major concerns of voters and we all know that Obama is against higher taxes or if you want to work for him, just don't pay your taxes.

    November 4, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. Fair is Fair

    Spin it any way you want.

    It is ABSOLUTELY a referrendum on Obama. McDonnell won almost 60% of the vote. Obama won the state by 7% – that's means 27% of the electorate flipped. Fully a quarter of the electorate.

    New Jersey? When a deep blue state flips, don't say is isn't a message to Washington.

    HUGE message.

    November 4, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. me happy- at 4:20 each day

    HA HA, YES IT IS!!!

    Spin it however you want to, but it still IS!!

    Didn't he campaign for both of them??

    November 4, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  24. Ron

    One is naive if they believe that these elections were not improtant to the White House. Obama and Biden would not have been campaigning if these races were not viewed as important. If I were part of the administration I would be running scared.

    November 4, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  25. John

    It is a referendum on rising joblessness, rising gas price, failing confidence in the face of the economic downturn, and weakening international resolves.

    November 4, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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