The elections today


For the latest poll results, see

On balance, these elections seem likely to be good news for Democrats.

Jon Corzine has been ahead of Doug Forrester in all the New Jersey polls. But Corzine seems unlikely to do much better than John Kerry did when he won New Jersey 53 percent to 46 percent–far less than Al Gore's 56-percent-to-40-percent margin.

In Virginia, polls show a very tight race. Democrat Tim Kaine had a good month in October, but Republicans say they have a better turnout organization. This will be a major test of whether Republicans still have the turnout advantage that they did in 2004. If Kaine wins, one of the losers will be Hillary Rodham Clinton. Reason: that will be a big boost for outgoing Gov. Mark Warner, who has very high job ratings and wants to run for president in 2008. Warner will argue that Democrats need a moderate who can win states like Virginia, which Bush won 54 percent to 45 percent. A Kaine win will add strength to this argument.

Few in mainstream media will probably pay much attention to New York City, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg leads Democrat Fernando Ferrer by 2-to-1 margins in polls. And the national implications of this race are limited. But they do teach one lesson. When the Democrats nominate a left-wing candidate, they can lose, even in a city that voted 75 percent to 24 percent for John Kerry.

In California, which voted 54 percent to 44 percent for Kerry, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has gambled that he can get voters to back four ballot propositions that, if enacted, would greatly undermine the institutional strengths of the Democratic Party and weaken the public employee unions. Most polls show the propositions trailing, but, as I have noted before, there is a wide difference between different polls. SurveyUSA reports that its poll of people who have already voted absentee—a sort of pre-Election Day exit poll—shows the propositions doing better with them than with those who haven't voted yet. That could be evidence of superior Republican organization efforts and an indication that the public employee unions' efforts haven't matched them. A defeat for Arnold will be a big victory for public employee unions, with implications far beyond California.