The U.S. Republican Party is cheering victories in governor's races in two states that played a pivotal role in Democrat Barack Obama's 2008 presidential election victory.  Many observers say the results are a referendum on Mr. Obama's policies.

In an off-year election seen by some political pundits as a measure of support for President Barak Obama's popularity after his first year in office, the opposition Republicans have picked up the state house (governor's mansion) in two formerly Democratic states.  

In Virginia, Robert McDonnell,  defeated Democratic state Senator Creigh Deeds by an overwhelming margin of 59 percent to 41 percent.  McDonnell is the first Republican to win the governor's office since 2001.  He celebrated his victory in the state capitol, Richmond, Virginia.

"Tonight you've given me the title of governor of Virginia.  But I pledge to you, over the next four years, action and results. I'm reminded of the old adage of the Boys Scouts that I will bring to Virginia, and that is ... that we will leave Virginia better than we found it," he said.  "Thank you very much, God bless you, God bless Virginia."

In New Jersey, Democratic Governor Jon Corzine was rejected in his bid for a second term, losing to Republican Christopher Christie, a former federal prosecutor.  Christie used New Jersey's struggling economy as the focal point of his campaign.  

"We are in a crisis.  The times are extraordinarily difficult," she said.  "But I stand here tonight full of hope for our future, full of expectations and dreams, not just for my children but for all the children of New Jersey, Kim (running mate Kim Guadagno) and I are going to get to work to make that happens, starting tomorrow."

Both McDonnell and Christie attracted support from independents, who voted in large numbers for Mr. Obama last year.  Political analysts say Tuesday's vote suggests many independents are dissatisfied with the president's policies on such issues as the economy and health care.

Political pundits say the results in Virginia and New Jersey indicate the opposition Republicans are energized, heading into next year's midterm Congressional elections.