The Republican victories in the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey and the close reelection victory of Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City are testaments to the fact that all politics is local, except in a Presidential election year.
The reality is that, with the economy continuing to worsen regarding unemployment and foreclosures, and with the corruption problems in New Jersey, it was inevitable that the independent voters would rebel against the party in power in both states, and make for a closer margin for NYC Mayor than was expected.
Last year, the Democrats benefited from the poor economy. This time, the Republicans were the ones to gain from the worsening economy.
It is very obvious that what happens in the 2010 midterm elections will be based more on the economy than anything else, so this puts the burden on President Obama to bring about substantial improvement in economic statistics in the next year, and to accomplish passage of major health care reform legislation, with the belief that once it is accomplished, it will be an asset for the Democrats.
While this is not a good day for Democrats, to interpret two state governorship races as a mandate for the GOP and a slap in the face to Barack Obama is a tremendous exaggeration. But no one can debate that the 2010 midterm congressional election will be a judgment on the Obama Presidency halfway to the Presidential election.