Karl Rove: What the numbers mean behind Tuesday’s election

Karl Rove highlights this week from his Wall Street Journal column,

Barack Obama was said to have redrawn the electoral map by winning Virginia last year with 53% of the vote. On Tuesday, Republican Bob McDonnell flipped the state back to the GOP, winning his election for governor with 59% of the vote. Mr. Obama carried New Jersey easily last year with 57% of the vote. This year, despite being outspent 3-to-1, Republican Chris Christie ousted Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine there by 49% to 45%. Mr. Obama carried Pennsylvania last year by 10 points. On Tuesday, Republican Judge Joan Orie Melvin was elected to the state’s Supreme Court by 53% to 47%, leading a GOP sweep of six of seven statewide contests.

The trend here is that suburban and independent voters moved into the GOP column. The overall shift away from Democrats was 13 points in Virginia, 12 points in New Jersey, and eight points in Pennsylvania. Even a five-point swing in 2010 could bring a tidal wave of change. Today, Democrats enjoy 60 votes in the Senate, Republicans a mere 40. Had there been a five-point swing away from Democrats last fall, the party would have started this year with 54 seats and the Republicans 46…

.A five-point shift in 2006 would have left the GOP in control of the House. In 2008, a five-point shift would have produced a Democratic loss of six House seats rather than a gain of 21. It would also have put John McCain into the White House with 279 Electoral College votes to Mr. Obama’s 259.

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