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The message behind the ballots
Strategists from both political parties looked for clues about voter moods in the results from Tuesday
W
hat happened
Strategists from both political parties looked for clues about voter moods in the results from Tuesday’s elections. But some political observers said it was impossible to read too much into the results, as most state ballots were filled with relatively mundane questions about land use and spending instead of hot-button issues such as immigration and gay rights.

What the commentators said
Tuesday was “a mixed day for Republicans,” said Jennifer Rubin in HumanEvents.com. “It wasn’t the wipe out some anticipated but a clear warning that the Republican brand may be a bit dented and some repair work is still in order.” Haley Barbour retained the governor’s job in Mississippi. Coming on the heels of Bobby Jindal’s win in Louisiana, it looks like the “GOP brand is not ballot box poison” in at least some parts of the country.

The vote in Virginia certainly had “national significance,” said the Falls Church, Va., News-Press in an editorial. Tuesday’s vote gave Democrats control of Virginia’s state Senate for the first time in 10 years. This is the third straight year of Democratic gains since President Bush carried the state in 2004, which means “it is a serious candidate to swing from the ‘red’ Republican to the ‘blue’ Democratic column in its voting for president of the U.S. next November.”

“Sometimes, an off-year election can provide important clues as to which way the political winds are blowing,” said USA Today in an editorial. But not this year. “Democrats had slightly more to crow about the morning after,” but “there was no big overall message.” Any candidate who consults the results for guidance in 2008 “does so at his or her peril.”

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