Afternoon Jolt: Republicans Lose. Military Wins.

By Afternoon Jolt November 23, 2010

Today's Loser is the Washington State Republican Party

The conventional wisdom on Dino Rossi is that he's a crummy candidate; the dude couldn't even win in a year when GOP candidates were kicking ass all over the country, picking up six seats in the U.S. Senate. Was he that lousy a candidate? He lost 52.37 to 47.63. Ouch.

However, some smart analysis by Portland pollster Moore Information breaks it down and shows that Rossi actually did better than any other Republican candidate nationwide when it came to winning his party and all-important independent voters.

Remarkably, Rossi did better among Independents than any other losing Republican senate candidate in the country and only two winning candidates* did better than Rossi among this group. So Rossi must have alienated Republicans, right? Nope.

Dino Rossi did better among Republicans than any other U.S. Senate campaign in the country for which exit poll data is available. He won 96% of the Republican vote. No other Republican U.S. Senate candidate in a competitive race did as well among the base vote. No one. Rossi appealed to both Independents and Republicans and brought a coalition together that in most states would have ensured a very solid victory.

So, what gives? This:

The Democrat partisan advantage in Washington was the highest we have seen, even better than the past two election cycles when Democrats were extremely motivated. In the 2006 and 2008 cycles, Washington Democrats had a ten-point edge in party identification over Republicans and yet this year, the year of supposed Democratic disaffection, it was even larger than that.

The partisan makeup of Washington voters who cast a ballot this year continued to show an upward tick in the state's Democratic partisan advantage. When Rossi lost to Christine Gregoire in 2004 Democrats held a four-point advantage in partisan identification among those who voted. In the huge Democratic year of 2008 they held a ten-point advantage in party identification. This year that spread increased to 12 points for Democrats.

Today's Winner is the U.S. Military

The U.S. Air Force gets Major Margaret Witt back. While the U.S. government filed an appeal today to September's U.S. District Court ruling that Witt's sexuality (she's a lesbian) should not bar her from military service, the feds also decided not to seek a stay of that ruling while their appeal is pending.
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