This Is Not A Referendum!
The truth is Barack Obama & Company spent a lot of time in New Jersey trying to save John Corzine from his record. Tim Kaine, the head of the DNC is the outgoing governor of Virginia, and the GOP took his seat, and a few others in the state. The NY Times and Washington Post will undoubtedly repeat the party line that these aren't referendums on the Democrats, they are.
The party line is that the "Obama coalition" didn't show up to vote in those elections. The young, and people of color chose to stay home, even though Obama showed up five times in New Jersey to beg to come out and vote and make a difference. That is somewhat of a referendum on President Obama's staying power. He's not as new and cool as he was last year.
Add to that fact that the ballots were pretty much stuffed with white guys who are career politicians, and you have a recipe for not getting out the youth vote, or the minority vote. This is something that the Democrats will have to keep in mind for the 2010 mid-term elections.
New York's 23rd Congressional District did go to the Democrats. I'm not sure that is a true indicator of anything though, since the "GOP" candidate dropped out Saturday and endorsed the Democratic candidate, leaving Doug Hoffman of the Conservative Party out on his own. The State GOP can blame themselves for that loss, though. They put up a candidate as a Republican who's farther left than many Democrats, and wonder why she didn't poll well and couldn't raise money.
Another interesting tidbit, Maine it was thought, would be one of the first states to pass a Gay Marriage ballot referendum, and instead it wend down. This didn't surprise me. Maine has an independent streak as a state, but generally runs a little bit to the right. They elect moderate republicans to the Senate all the time. So the idea that this didn't fly up there shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, except the folks that thought the 2008 elections mean the entire country shifted to the left.