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. Chris M.

    Obama only won with a margin of only like 6% and he claimed it was a "mandate". When Democrats loose by the same margin it's not a repudiation? I'm getting dizzy from all the spin....

    November 4, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Gary, Los Angeles

    Really? I thought he was God, and if he appeared, everyone would vote Democrat? Losing a bit of his pull, you think?

    November 4, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. gerry

    I live in Va and I agree with this article 100%. Virginia for the most part
    has always been Republican and I predicted nothing would change.
    McDonnell ran a better race and Deeds was too honest with regard to taxes. There is just so much cutting and laying off you can do. If it wasn't for the stimulus package I would have been laid off. Obama did what experts told him to do and it is working and will get be better
    as time goes on. The governor's race always has a small turnout.

    The republicans got to know that there is a silent majority out there that knows Obama got his hands full with what was given to him and
    with the Party of NO He is doing ok and things will be better. Watch

    November 4, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. George

    Stop trying to connect their small win. Stop trying to connect the two
    elections. By the way Obama has been in office from Jan/2009, a mere 11 months. He needs more time clean up the mess left behind by bush.

    November 4, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. I am the flacid and powerless wizard of Rush with yellow teeth

    Just a little reminder to all the right wingers who feel NJ and VA were a repudiation of our President.

    The Democrats took both NJ and VA in 2001 and lost seats in the Senate and House in 2002.

    How'd that teabagging work for you in the NY 23rd? You Betcha

    November 4, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. Rob

    I think it's funny that CNN has to repeatedly post stories about how this is not a referendum on Obama. When we all know that if Corzine and Deeds won (well at least Corzine since they threw Deeds under the bus) all the stories on here would be how it is a referendum on Obama. Heck the guy repeatedly campaigned for Corzine, and as we see it didn't work. Apparently the golden child has lost some of his luster.

    With regards to CNN and the multiple stories about this, I believe the phrase "Thou doth protesteth too much." comes into play.

    That's ok libs, if you keep saying it enough times you'll eventually believe it. In the meantime, I think we ought to change Obumbles theme song to "The Thrill is Gone."

    November 4, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. Merrick

    Its not a blow to Obama but a shot across the bow. My hope is the media and all the liberals keep saying this has nothing to do with him because he will not change his behavior. If they do take the warning Independents and the GOP can get some balance back in our government in 2010 that has veered too far left of the majority of the country.

    November 4, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Joe

    No more big government telling me what I have to do with my life. !!!!

    We don't want it ! Wake up people !

    November 4, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Bingo

    When the President campaigns for the Governor of New Jersey three times in one week and states that he (President Obama) needs Governor Corzine to be re-elected in order to further the administration's agenda, it is somewhat disingenous to claim that Governor Corzine's defeat was not, at least in some measure, a rejection of President Obama's agenda. President Obama linked himself and Governor Corzine. The defeat of Governor Corzine is a defeat of that linkage. This was not a national referendum on President Obama's agenda, but it was at least a statewide rejection of his support for the Democratic candidate. In a historically blue state, heavily populated by President Obama's key supporters, this is a big defeat for the President.

    November 4, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. diridi

    45 percent of people did not even vote...how could this be a referendum...????you kidding....???

    November 4, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. Vicki Johnson

    Yes, it was a referendum on President Obama. People are not pleased that the government, under his administration, has taken over the automobile industry, banking industry, and is now trying to take over the health care industry. Children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will be trying to pay for what has occured during his administration.

    November 4, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. single mom

    Considering how many times the President, VP and other high-profile Democrats campaigned in NJ and VA, how can this be anything BUT a referendum on Obama?
    Of course, economy was a factor. And the economy is also a reflection on the President. Remember Clinton's slogan – It's the Economy, stupid?
    Doesn't matter how long you're in office. Even if things started the year before under the one before you. You sign the bills, you get the credit or the blame.

    November 4, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Karl in Charleston,SC

    Sure it is. Obama's losing the Independent voters that helped him win the presidency.

    November 4, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. true daughter of the american revolution

    we all knew that these elections would be used by the republicans to twist their talking points in a negative way towards Obama.
    but the reality is, he's only been in office 9 months – not quite long enough to take credit for any kind of economic state...but if the economy recover during his time, well, he worked pretty hard to make that happen, and took a lot of flack for the process.
    most of us realize that the bush years contributed heavily to the experiences we are facing now – economically as well as the situations in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    pretty much, the Bush/Cheney years ignored domestic issues and focused on situations outside our country.
    and, what did that really do for us?
    it;s too bad that the republican party will not accept responsibility for their part in all this. but it is typical of them. the spin machine is well oiled on the conservative side.
    but if you listen closely to them, you realize they have nothing new, nothing substantial to say.
    which is why it's easy for them to point fingers at others, and take the attention away from their follies.

    November 4, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Ron in California

    If the folks in New Jersey focused on taxes as an issue...just wait until you figure out how much further this president and Congress are going to reach into your wallet.

    November 4, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. Sasha P.

    No, I don't believe the Repub gbernatorial wins in NJ and VA were a reflection of failed Obama influence or policies. Those wins are not national game changers–the Dems still control the House and Senate, and the White House. Plus, the Dems picked up two more reps for Congress from NY and CA, so if anything, the political clout of the Dems was padded a bit more. I think the Repub party is so divided right now that any political victory will be positioned as a reinvigorated and united party. Well, we know that is not the case–you have the lunatic fringe who don't think Repubs are conservative enough, and you have conservatives who despise moderate Repubs. The Repub party is in a deep swamp of infighing that will not let up anytime soon.

    November 4, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Brenda

    Based on the reports of someone listening to the campaign speeches in Virginia..............

    The Republicans campaigning in Virginia---were making citizens aware of the jobs that would be lost if Obama's Tax and Cap were passed.

    They were making citizens aware of the tax increases that will occur if Obamacare passes.

    This is definitely a referendum on Obama, Pelosi, and the policies that they are attempting to pass in our country.

    November 4, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. John

    No No Certainly Not these Elections are not a referendum on Obama.

    Creigh Deeds and Jon Corzine are themselves responsible.

    However, HISTORY shows that Virginia and N.J. Voters are SADDISTS........... They are the most UNSATISFIED PEOPLE.

    They always vote the opposite. These States are not Stable, that is why their Economy is Worst than Other States.

    Bush and Republicans ruined America for Last 8 Years.

    Now N.J. and Virginia are submitting themselves to their Misery.

    Good Luck N.J. and Virginia. You Guys deserve what you choose. Get ready for further Screw Up by Republicans.

    November 4, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. Shelly CO

    The results were no surprise....Virginia always votes for the opposing
    party to the one in the WH. Corzine had lost credibility amongst many voters, and there was no choice.
    Also the older , more conservative voters came out to vote .....voter turnout was low.
    Dems have to energize their base in 2010!

    November 4, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. Peggy

    I think the majority of the voters are finally realizing what a pile of Garbage they got for their vote last November.

    November 4, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. this black liberal hates Obama

    And yet, you still wonder why you're dead last in the ratings!

    Give it up your defending Mr. Looser is getting way too old now!

    November 4, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Fed Up

    Keep on making excuses for Obamas big loss. If they had won, it would be smeared all over the place how great and powerful Obama is..................glad they lost. This is huge for Obama, if it wasn't he wouldn't have wasted so much time and money campaigning for his Fellow Democrats.

    November 4, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. JDD

    "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."

    "Should not be"?

    Oh, I love it when a new source tells me in the first paragraph of a story – before we've laid out any facts or context – how I should not interpret something.

    November 4, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  24. sniffit makes me glad to be conservative

    sure. if the dems were winning there races, cnn and the MSM would be touting the results as an endorsment of obama's "change".

    nice spinning guys.

    November 4, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. Torch

    Keep spinning it has nothing to do with Obama.

    Why then are Republicans cool again? Last November, they were hated. Now, back in fashion.

    What are you going to say in 2010 when the same thing happens?

    When is this amatuer administration ever going to own anything? The economy, the war, jobs????

    November 4, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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