John Bolton

John Bolton

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Reflections on the Big Win: The Good, The Bad and Harry Reid

As of 1:30 AM Wednesday, the ballots are still being counted in many races, but the message is loud and clear!

GOP Cleaned Pelosi's Clock

I've been using Politico's results map most of the night and the one thing that struck me most of all is how red these maps have become. Take a look at the results map for House elections. Huge sections of the country went from Dem to GOP, including nearly the entire state of Ohio. There hasn't been a Dem wipeout of these proportions in my lifetime. We're on track to exceed earlier expectations with a probable 60 seat pickup.

John Boehner, the presumptive Speaker of the House became emotional remembering how far he's come to reach tonight's victory. We've all taken that road with him:

States turn to GOP for Governors

The map showing results for governor's races is also overwhelmingly red. Notice the huge shift in the Great Lakes' states including a win for John Kasich in Ohio (I helped with his first congressional campaign). Also, Niki Haley will become the first female Governor of South Carolina. These newly minted governors will play a big role in redistricting of House seats in 2011 and the presidential campaign of 2012.

Senate Sees Red, But Keeps Reid

The results map for Senate races is also a sea of red. Note again how the Great Lakes region running from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin is red. That includes Kirk's win of the Illinois seat once held by Obama.

The big win of the night went to Marco Rubio with almost 50% of the vote in a three way race. He's on his way to stardom and a bright future in national politics. The biggest disappointment was Angle's loss to Harry Reid in Nevada. Unbelievable that voters in that state would return Reid, but in the end, he outworked Angle to get out the vote.

As of now, races in Colorado and Washington state are too close to call. But one thing is certain, even though Dems will still control the Senate, there has been a seismic shift in the balance of that body strongly favoring the GOP. Reid will find it much harder, if not impossible, to advance any further with Obama's agenda.

Reflections on Polls and the Wave

One thing that became clear is that the polls of a number of senate races actually undervalued Democrat performance. Angle was shown to be ahead in most of the closing polls but lost by five points. The race in Colorado is closer than expected and so too in Pennsylvania and Illinois.

One might have thought that the wave which overturned Dem control of the House would have lifted more GOP Senate candidates with it. That didn't happen.

There is also a lesson here for the future. Don't let your hopes for a big win get the better of your brain which is telling you to be more cautious and stick to the numbers. Even the numbers can be wrong.

Two years from now we may find ourselves looking eagerly to dethrone Obama. But let's remember Tuesday's lesson to be more cautious in our expectations.

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