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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Morning After A Tsunami.: Messages, Understanding And Exit Polls

There were massive gains for the GOP in the House of Representatives where Republicans won control and gains in the Senate but control still is held by Democrats. The GOP has also gained at least16 legislative chambers. (Some sources say more)

The biggest thing to celebrate is the gavel has been ripped out of Nancy Pelosi's hands, as of January, when Republicans fully take control of the House of Representatives, Pelosi will no longer be Speaker of the House.

With that said, while there is much to celebrate, there were some deep disappointments for Republicans, such as Harry Reid keeping his Senate seat and the position of Senate Majority Leader.

Let us start with the good news. While a few races have still not been called for the House, listed below, the GOP saw gains that have not been seen since 1948. This has been the biggest sweep in decades and a clear message to the current Obama administration.

House Races not called yet and status as of 11/3 12:22 PM ET:

Arizona District 7- Raul Grijalva (D) 49% / Ruth McClung (R) 46%
Arizona District 8- Gabrielle Giffords (D) 49% / Jesse Kelly (R) 48%
California District 11- David Harmer (R) 47% / Jerry McNerney (D) 47%
California District 20- Andy Vidak (R) 51% / Jim Costa (D) 49%
Georgia District 2- Sanford Bishop (D) 51% / Mike Keown (R) 49%
Illinois District 8- Joe Walsh (R) 49% / Melissa Bean (D) 48%
Kentucky District 6- Ben Chandler (D) 50% / Andy Barr (R) 50%
Michigan District 9- Gary Peters (D) 49% / Rocky Raczkowski (R) 48%
Texas District 27- Blake Farenthold (R) 48% / Solomon Ortiz (D) 47%
Washington District 9- Adam Smith (D) 18% / Dick Muri (R) 16%

Until all these races are decided and called, the amount of House seats the GOP gained cannot be figured, but with the races that have already been called, the GOP has netted a gain of over 60 seats.

The largest gain for any party since 1948.

Senate Races not called as of 11/3 12:22 PM ET:

Alaska- Lisa Murkowsky (I) 41% / Joe Miller (R) 34% / Scott McAdams (D) 24%
Colorado- Michael Bennet (D) 47 % - 771,939 Votes/ Ken Buck (R) 47% - 766,371 Votes
Washington- Patty Murray (D) 50%- 722,396 Votes/ Dino Rossi (R) 50% -708,391 Votes

The Morning After

John Boehner, the presumed new Speaker of the House, gave his speech last night regarding the GOP takeover of the House of Representatives. Text of speech below, courtesy of Examiner.

Let me just say this, it's clear tonight who the winners really are. And that's the American people. It's the American people's voice that was heard at the ballot box - the American people's voice. And listen, I'm going to be brief because we've got real work to do; and frankly, this is not a time for celebration.

Not when one out of ten of our fellow citizens is out of work, not when we've buried our children under a mountain of debt, not when our congress is held in such low esteem.This is a time to roll up our sleeves- a time to look forward with determination and to take the first step towards building a future for our kids and our grand kids.

Across the country right now, we are witnessing a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government, and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the American people. Of course this campaign is not over yet; to the folks out West where the polls may still be open. - and this is a time to seize that moment and make sure your voice is heard - to reject the spending sprees, the bail-outs, the back room deals and all that nonsense and to join your fellow Americans in putting Washington on notice. Because for far too long, Washington’s been doing what’s best for Washington, not what’s best for the American people. And tonight, that begins to change.

With their voices, the America people are demanding a new way forward in Washington. I'm here to tell you, tonight, that our new majority will be prepared to do things differently - to take a new approach that hasn't been tried in Washington before - or by either party.

It starts with cutting spending, instead of increasing it; reducing the size of government, instead of increasing it; and reforming the way congress works and giving the government back to the American people. And for all those families who were asking, 'Where are the jobs?', it means ending the uncertainty in our economy and helping small businesses get back to work.

The people's priorities will be our priorities; and the people's agenda will be our agenda. This is our pledge to American and this is our pledge to you. While our new majority will serve as your voice in the People's House, we must remember it's the president who sets the agenda for our government.

The American people have sent an unmistakable message to him tonight, and that message is - change course. We hope President Obama will now respect the will of the people, change course and commit to making changes that they are demanding. And to the extent that he's willing to do that, we're ready to work with him.

But make no mistake, the president will find in our new majority the voice of the American people as they have expressed it tonight. Standing on our principles, checking Washington's power and leading the drive to a smaller, last costly and more accountable government here in Washington, DC.

These are the principles our new majority will stand for and we hope that Mr. President, you'll stand with us in the hard work that lies ahead. Because we are humbled by the trust that the American people have placed in us, and we recognize that with this trust comes the responsibility to listen, and listen we will.

Let's start right now by recognizing that this is not a time for celebration but a time to roll up our sleeves and go to work. We can celebrate when small businesses begin hiring again. We can celebrate when a spending binge here in Washington has stopped. And we can celebrate when we have a government that has earned the trust of the people that it serves. When we have a government that honors the Constitution and stands up for the values that have made America - America - things like economic freedom, individual liberty and personal responsibility.

Listen, I hold these values dear because I've lived them. I spent my whole life, chasing the American Dream. Alright. Listen, I've let a lot of you know, I started out mopping floors, waiting tables and tending bar in my dad's tavern. I put my, myself through school working every rotten job there was and every night shift I could find. And I poured my heart and soul into running a small business. And when I saw how out of touch Washington had become with core values of this great nation, I put my name forward and ran for office.

So I'm going to thank my wife, Debby, my girls Lindsey and Tricia and my eleven brothers and sisters and all my friends and neighbors in Ohio for giving me the chance to serve and the opportunity to stand before you - ready to lead. Thank all of you. God bless you and God bless our great country.

Emphasis mine.

Republicans need to remember those words carefully. While polls should never be a be-all-end-all determining factor, a polling pattern showing a majority of Americans want something or are totally opposed to something, should matter, should be heeded, because politicians are elected with the presumption that they will represent us, their constituents.

That is something Washington politicians have forgotten and hopefully last night's election has brought that front and center.

Barack Obama will be making a speech shortly and his tone will be a very good indicator of how the next two years play out and whether he understands the message that was sent last night.

Republicans need to make their case to the American people with every piece of legislation and make sure the majority of Americans is on board with what they pass through the House.

If they do so, and the Democratically controlled Senate or Barack Obama stands in the way, by not voting, or voting along partisan lines to reject such legislation or in Obama's case, vetoes legislation that Americans want... then 2012 will be just as brutal for Democrats.

If Republicans forget why they were given this second chance, 2012 will be just as brutal for the GOP..

Evan Bayh, a Democratic Senator from Indiana, who is retiring from the Senate in January, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, where he stated the problems as he saw them and continued on to discuss how to move forward for the Democratic party.

It is clear that Democrats over-interpreted our mandate. Talk of a “political realignment” and a “new progressive era” proved wishful thinking. Exit polls in 2008 showed that 22 percent of voters identified themselves as liberals, 32 percent as conservatives and 44 percent as moderates. An electorate that is 76 percent moderate to conservative was not crying out for a move to the left.

We also overreached by focusing on health care rather than job creation during a severe recession. It was a noble aspiration, but $1 trillion in new spending and a major entitlement expansion are best attempted when the Treasury is flush and the economy strong, hardly our situation today.

And we were too deferential to our most zealous supporters. During election season, Congress sought to placate those on the extreme left and motivate the base — but that meant that our final efforts before the election focused on trying to allow gays in the military, change our immigration system and repeal the George W. Bush-era tax cuts. These are legitimate issues but unlikely to resonate with moderate swing voters in a season of economic discontent.

Exit Polls Tell The Story:


Just 45 percent approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president in these preliminary exit polls, while 54 percent disapprove. Congress receives an approval rating of just 25 percent, while 73 percent say they disapprove of the job Congress is doing.

More than 62 percent of voters cite the economy as the most important issue right now -- significantly overshadowing any other issue. As many as 88 percent say the economy is in bad shape, while more than 86 percent are worried about the direction the economy will take in the next year. Four in 10 voters say they are worse off financially than they were two years ago.

Just 35 percent say the country is headed in the right direction, and 62 percent said it is on the wrong track.

You can see state by state exit polls at CNN election Center.

Exit Polls On Obamacare

Forty-eight percent support canceling the changes that the Obama administration and Congress made to the health care system. Thirty-one percent say they want the new health care law expanded, and just 16 percent say they want to leave the laws as is. (Wapo)


Fifty-nine percent (59%) of those who voted in today’s elections nationwide favor repeal of the national health care bill passed by congressional Democrats in March, including 48% who Strongly Favor it.

Rasmussen Reports telephone surveying nationwide after the polls closed found that 40% are opposed to repeal, with 32% who Strongly Oppose it.

Will Obama Understand The Message Americans Sent?

According to an article in The Politico, some think a shakeup of the Obama administration is in order and some believe Barack Obama will take heed of the message that was sent, while others see indications that Obama had ear plugs in last night and did not hear the message.

Obama has had weeks to brace for the worst, unlike Clinton, who was blindsided by the ’94 results. But some of Obama’s allies fear he will take Tuesday’s results too much in stride. That perception was fueled by Axelrod, who told a gathering of Democrats earlier this week that he didn’t interpret Tuesday’s expected debacle as a rejection of the president.

“I’m not sure [Obama] gets it yet,” said one person close to the president.

It Is Still 2010, The New Majority Is Not In Control Yet

Whether Barack Obama, the Democratically controlled Senate and the newly taken over House of Representatives, all get along, find common ground and are able to work together is something we will not know until January 2011.

Until then we have a Democratically controlled House, Senate and White House, during a lame duck session and Republicans may have the fight of a lifetime on their hands in keeping any major controversial legislation from passing along straight party line votes.

Should Democrats attempt jamming controversial legislation through congress, then Barack Obama should refuse to sign it because as last night should have taught him clearly, voters will remember and his 2012 reelection bid will be on the line here.

(Addition information was added to this post)