Donald Lambro

The national news media's liberal spin on Tuesday's off-year elections focused on the Republican loss in Virginia, insisting it demonstrated the GOP was still on a steep, downward slide.

But the political reality behind what happened this week tells a far different story that suggests it's the Democrats who are in trouble, from the state house to the Obama White House.

Yes, Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli lost the Virginia governor's race, but far more narrowly than anyone expected, or that the polls had shown. Despite the fact that he was vastly outspent by Bill and Hillary Clinton's shadowy, big money man, Terry McAuliffe, and was unable to get his message out on television.

To be sure, Cuccinelli had his own political weaknesses. He lost the women's vote badly as a result of a barrage of TV ads that focused entirely on abortion, birth control and other women's issues. He lost the state's Hispanic vote big time, because they saw him as virulently anti-immigration reform.

For much if not most of the election cycle, his message on jobs and tax cuts to spur the economy was drowned out by McAuliffe's nonstop TV ads portraying Cuccinelli as anti-women and "too extreme for Virginia."

Throw in the politically-damaging gift-giving scandal that destroyed Republican Bob McDonnell's governorship, and that slightly tarnished Cuccinelli and the GOP, too, and the Democrats were salivating over their hopes for a landslide victory.

In the end, however, McAuliffe narrowly won by less than a 2.5 percentage point margin. A CNN computer-drawn color map of the voter breakdown showed the state in a sea of GOP red, with the exception of just a few deep blue urban centers, including heavily-populated Fairfax County, that lies just outside of Washington, D.C.

McAuliffe had squeaked out a win with the support of largely nonwhite and unmarried voters, but, notably, he had badly lost white and married voters to Cuccinelli.

Indeed, Democrats have lost white voters by 20 or more percentage points in the last four gubernatorial or presidential elections, according to election day exit polls.

What had happened to tighten a race that polls showed to be lopsided in McAuliffe's favor, though tightening in the final days of the campaign?

The big factor was certainly Obamacare that exploded in the final weeks of the race into a political disaster that dominated the news and clearly hurt McAuliffe who was one of its biggest boosters.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.