While Democrats fared well at the national level, most notably in their bid for Electoral College votes for Barack Obama (you don't hear Democrats complaining about it this time around ... ) and Senate seats, the state level picture wasn't as impressive.
While the GOP had finally reached relative parity to Democrats in the number of legislative chambers held (about half of the total of 98 partisan chambers), they lost control of a number of legislative majorities in the midst of the 2006 Democratic electoral wave. While one might have expected state races to again mirror the federal races, it seems as if the GOP was able to dodge this bullet, only losing one Governor's office and a very minor number of legislative seats to the Democrats nationwide.
According to state election data from the NCSL - the National Conference of State Legislatures, the GOP's legislative seat losses in 2008 were much less than those seen two years ago:
Nationwide partisan Senate seats, by election year:
2008: 1026 (53.5% ) DEM / 891 (46.5%) GOP - Change in share of seats: 0.8%
2006: 1011 (52.7%) DEM / 906 (47.3%) GOP - Change in share of seats: 3.0%
2004 : 953 (49.7%) DEM / 964 (50.3%) GOP
Nationwide partisan House seats, by election year:
2008: 3064 (56.8%) DEM / 2330 (43.2%) GOP - Change in share of seats: 1.6%
2006: 2975 (55.2%) DEM / 2410 (44.8%) GOP - Change in share of seats: 5.1%
2004: 2708 (50.2%) DEM / 2687 (49.8%) GOP
It's interesting to note that there was very little in the way of losses in what was supposed to be a bad year for the GOP, especially since many of these legislators will be casting votes for reapportionment plans
Phil Bailey, the state's best Democratic campaign operative, felt this outcome reflected a trend among independent voters to split their tickets:
The Republicans had a hell of a 72-hour operation in South Carolina. Nationwide, I think the middle-of-the-road voters wanted to balance their votes by voting for change in national races, but then voting for some incumbents, which favored the status quo at the local level.
Jim Merrill, the outgoing State House Majority Leader, felt voters assessed state races differently than national races:
Voters more closely scrutinize local races. They were mad at the national-level Republicans, but on the local level, many voters still saw the Republicans they knew in state offices weren't part of the problem.
The depravity of the mainstream media rarely shocks me, but their behavior this election cycle was astounding. They abandoned any pretense of impartiality or journalistic integrity to ensure a Democratic victory in competitive races.
This bias is clearly reflected in the election results of the higher profile campaigns. Generally speaking, the campaigns with more media exposure benefitted the Democratic candidate.
Missouri is typically considered a bellwether state. This cycle, no Republican seats in the Missouri State Senate were lost, and three were picked up -- enough seats to override the new Democratic governor. This was the largest increase in the country for a Republican-controlled chamber. The Democratic candidates at the top of the ballot received a disproportionate amount of media coverage, which was more favorable than unfavorable, and that's reflected in the election results.
Ok, now that the experts have spoken ... what do YOU, our readers think ... ?