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US Election Results May Indicate Future Voting Trends

US Election Results May Indicate Future Voting Trendsi
November 06, 2013 8:05 PM
Tuesday's election results from two U.S. gubernatorial races are being seen by some observers as an indication of how Americans may vote in next year's Congressional elections. Tuesday's off-year election was the first time voters have gone to the polls following the 16-day federal government shutdown and the problem-plagued rollout of President Barack Obama's healthcare initiative. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti tells us about the winners and the losers.
Tuesday's election results from two U.S. gubernatorial races are being seen by some observers as an indication of how Americans may vote in next year's Congressional elections. 

The off-year elections were the first time voters have gone to the polls following the 16-day federal government shutdown and the problem-plagued rollout of President Barack Obama's healthcare initiative.

The winners included a new Democratic party governor in the important swing state of Virginia - where the race was unexpectedly tight - and a Republican governor re-elected in New Jersey.  

Two different elections, influenced in different ways by the Tea Party, the ultra-conservative wing within the Republican Party.  Tea Party members of Congress brought about the U.S. government shutdown in an effort to de-fund President Obama's signature healthcare program.

Analysts say the unpopular shutdown hurt Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, who has strong Tea Party ties. Yet Cuccinelli narrowed the gap with his opponent by attacking Obamacare.

“Virginia understands that Obamacare is a failure and you want to be in charge of your healthcare, not the government," said Cuccinelli.
In the end, Virginia voters chose Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who promised bipartisanship.

"Just think what we can accomplish in Virginia when we work together," he said in his victory speech.

And, in New Jersey, it was a big re-election win for Republican Chris Christie, who claimed a victory that also included Democrats and minorities.

“Leadership is much less about talking and more about listening," Christie said. "Sitting around a table and listening to each other and showing them respect.”  

Christie's win was particularly notable, said Tad Devine, a Democratic strategist,

“He’s been able to take a very democratic state - Obama won New Jersey by 17 points in the last two elections - and become a governor who could not only win a close election as he did the first time, but win a landslide election," he said.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said Tea Party Republicans need to learn from the winning candidates.

"It leaves the Tea Party in an echo chamber, just talking to the base," O'Connell said.  "The real problem for the Tea Party is how do they expand their appeal beyond the Republican base.”

The internal battle ahead in upcoming national elections is for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, say analysts.  Does the party tilt toward the extreme conservatism of the Tea Party or lean more moderate?  

“Depending on how this battle turns out, it could lead to more battles and dysfunction and government shutdowns," said O'Connell.  "And that’s something that people all over the world have an eye on because America is still the most robust economy in the world.”
O’Connell believes Tuesday's results will embolden the Tea Party to continue to go after Obamacare as an issue they can win on in future elections. But the loss in Virginia could also encourage moderate Republicans to balance those attacks to appeal to a larger electorate.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters. She has also won numerous Associated Press TV, Radio, and Multimedia awards, as well as a Clarion for her TV coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, Google Glass & Other Wearables, and the 9/11 Anniversary.

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Comment Sorting
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
November 07, 2013 7:06 PM
The US politics looks like coming to the time to shift from two party system to moderate way with taking account of variable interests. I am afraid the recent American politics has been thinking mostly about the greatest good for the greatest strength, not for the greatest number. What would be the greatest number in the US in future? As JFK says, it must be not white but black and ethnics.

The US seems now on its tipping point. Every national should have a chance to exert their own ability as much as their capacity and to live fulfilled lives. Needless to say, gifted and strong people should help not-blessed and weak people. Such hopeful society system must be constructed in the US because it is actually the very country consited of migrants, multi-ethnic people. Thank you.

by: Monica from: NYC
November 07, 2013 6:20 PM
US Election Results May Indicate Future Voting Trends... or They May Not..!!! - who the F### knows...

hey, Carolyn Presutti, maybe you should stick to Italian politics... its easier...

by: us from: us
November 07, 2013 2:48 PM
The elections are rigged anyway, so it does not matter. We are given the illusion that we have a choice, but we really do not. The presidential elections prove that. We get to choose from idiot A or idiot B.
We are all slaves to the people really running this country/world

by: JKF from: Great North (Canada)
November 06, 2013 11:00 PM
The Republican party has failed to shift its dogma to the center; essentially it is split into two parties, the tea and the pragmatists, like Christie; Christie sees the light, and understands his electorate. There is no future, in an election, for as long as the Republican party is divided and continues to have a "tea party" with a very narrow perceived electoral base (economic/demographic). The further the republicans shift to extremist right wing ideas, the more they alienate those that have absolutely no possible fit with such ideas. There is no question that, as the population continues to shift to a multi-ethnic/multi-colored majority, the tea party positioners are more and more disconnected from the majority and reality. Gov Christie, is a good example of an individual that supports and upholds principles which appeal to the sentiments/ positions of the majority, thus he won. The tea partiers will sink the Republican ship no ifs and buts.... On the Democratic side, the continued massive system failures, of promissed deliverables to the people (jobs/economy/healthcare/peace/...), will put at risk their seats; lack of competence is a sure way to sour the electorate, even when the electorate does not have many options; time for the Democrats to start putting in place the rule of competence over chronism; otherwise the entire Western block will go down the drain; and yes the leader needs to listen/have competent advice, not just to his wishful well meaning unrealistic hopes.

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