(CNN) - You'd hardly know it was the same election.
Republicans on Wednesday sought to portray Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's victory in Tuesday's recall election as a sign of their party's strength, arguing political trends and their field operation could tilt the state their way for the first time in a presidential election in nearly three decades.
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But Democrats - whose candidate, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, lost to Walker on Tuesday and previously in the 2010 gubernatorial race - warned against extrapolating any larger lessons out of Tuesday's vote.
"I certainly wouldn't read much into yesterday's result beyond its effect on who's occupying the governor's seat in Wisconsin," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
While Walker won the recall, CNN exit polls showed voters who cast ballots on Tuesday preferred President Barack Obama to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, 51% to 44%.
In the recall vote, 99% of precincts were reporting as of Wednesday afternoon and of the nearly 2.5 million votes which had been cast, 53% of those were for Walker and 46% were for Barrett.
At a campaign fundraiser on Wednesday, Romney predicted Tuesday's results were a vote of support for the conservative agenda and would "echo throughout the country."
The Wisconsin vote certainly drew nationwide attention, beginning with Walker's signing of a controversial bill in 2011 which curbed the rights of most public employee unions.
Democrats' chances in the Tuesday vote may have been hurt by voters' impression as to whether the circumstances were appropriate for a recall.
CNN exit polling showed that 60% of those who cast ballots thought recalls are appropriate only in cases of the elected official's misconduct, while 27% said they are appropriate for any reason and 10% said recalls were never appropriate. Walker won the support of those who said only in cases of misconduct and never.
The broader consequences of the race will begin with the presidential race in November, Walker predicted after his win Tuesday evening.
"I think it will be competitive in Wisconsin, and the key for Romney to win is he's got to lay out a clear platform, something similar to what our friend [Wisconsin Rep.] Paul Ryan has done down the road," he said.
The CNN Electoral Map shows Wisconsin as leaning in Obama's favor, but it is not among the 15 states which CNN projects are firmly on Obama's side.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who formerly chaired the state GOP, said in an interview on CNN that it was "a big night for this country."
"This was the Democrats opportunity in Wisconsin to tell the world, 'Wait a second, this is a Democrat state. This whole thing is an anomaly, and we're going to turn Wisconsin blue as it should be,' " Priebus said.
The anomaly, Democrats said, was millions of special interest money which was poured into the state by outside groups.
"This particular election, by the way, wasn't about collective bargaining the last month, I wish it had been about collective bargaining but it wasn't," Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, told reporters on a Wednesday conference call.
He predicted the efforts to recall three Republican members of the state senate would be Democratic wins, although results from those races have not yet been certified by the state.
Obama voiced his support for Barrett, the Democrat, in a tweet on Monday, but Republicans said his decision not to campaign in the state was a sign that they did not want to be embarrassed by a loss there.
But Democrats said the president was busy, and Democratic Governors Association chairman Martin O'Malley, the governor of Maryland, argued Tuesday on CNN's "John King, USA" that an Obama visit had the "potential to nationalize a race that quite frankly should be about whether the people of Wisconsin are creating jobs and expanding opportunity again."
Other high level political surrogates from both parties, including former President Bill Clinton, campaigned on behalf of Barrett or Walker.
Democratic National Committee executive director Patrick Gaspard reiterated on Wednesday that the race was about "issues playing out that were particular to Wisconsin."
"These issues were particular to the folks in Wisconsin," he said on MSNBC, and looking to November, "we're going to continue to build in that state."