November 3, 2009

Get ready for the spin

Expect to see a few things this evening after the Republican/conservative sweep of the three high profile races in New Jersey, Virginia and NY23 (and yes, I'm feeling more confident about a sweep than just yesterday).

What you can expect to see, in various forms, is spin. The first form it will take is that turnout is low. Liberals will argue that because Obama was not on the ballot, the under-card candidate could not benefit from his magnificent presence on the ballot. There may be some truth in that, but it is one factor of many, and not the dominant one.

True, youth may have turned out in smaller numbers but if you look at the voting patterns of those who did turn out, I predict the numbers will be vastly different from 2008. And don't forget that President Obama personally stumped for ALL 3 Democrats in these races.

The first type of spin will be refutable - the numbers will point to a shift in attitudes of those who voted.  It's important to get those conservative vote totals high for that reason.  And it's important to be able to counter the anti-"anti-Obama" spin. It should be easy to accomplish that.

As a result, the spin itself will morph into another form. Already the White House is saying that the votes reflect the recession and not Obama personally. Never mind that it's now his recession. But the spin telegraphs the spin to come tonight. Expect the media to kick into high gear about the fact that the elections were about local issues and local conditions. NY23 has always been conservative. New Jersey was about Corzine and local corruption. Virginia, well maybe they're just racist or only Obama could overcome the conservative bent of the state. Forget all about all that talk we did about Virginia's demographics changing over the last decade or more. What we say now is accurate, for now.

While laughable, that's harder to refute without any meaningful exit polling or follow up surveying in the affected regions.  If I were the GOP I'd be all over some post-election surveying to see who voted, their party afiliation, how they voted and how they'd previously voted.  It will make for some great insight and likely also some great Republican and conserative talking points.

Lastly, the spin will likely change once again but only if it absolutely has to do so.  The last meme will be that while the vote was indeed a message to Democrats, it doesn't signal the need for a drastic change.  What it really means is a better effort at communicating with the American public.  Yes, continue to keep conservative and Republican lawmakers at bay, but at least make it look like you care. And it doesn't mean make it look to liberals like you care, it means make the conservatives think you care.  It will launch Democrats into campaign rhetoric mode at that point.  And the spin will be that the message is that people feel they aren't being heard - watch for more town halls but in a more controlled way.  The spin will become we were told, we listened, and we're listening now, so please continue to adore us...yeccchhhhh.

UPDATE:  I'd forgotten the other, cries of ballot-rigging spin by the left.  RedState has the story.

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