I've gotten some right wing tirades because I told The Hill for a story yesterday that there were very few people who voted Democratic last year changing sides and that the problem for the party this year was largely one of complacency and comparative motivation.
In New Jersey 71% of people who voted for John McCain are planning to vote for Chris Christie and 70% who voted for Barack Obama are supporting Jon Corzine. There is no meaningful difference in the percentage of their party's voters from last year that the two major party candidates are holding onto.
It's a similar story in Virginia. Bob McDonnell is winning 8% of Obama's voters while Creigh Deeds is taking 7% of John McCain's voters.
Republicans are winning these races not because they're winning anyone over, but because they're planning to vote at a much higher rate than Democrats this year. The truth is if the same set of voters who showed up in 2008 showed up next month Creigh Deeds and Jon Corzine would both win. But of course that's not going to happen.
This fact doesn't make the potential GOP victories any less valid, and I think they may well be a harbinger of next year's elections. But they say very little about 2012 because if Barack Obama was at the top of the ballot Democrats wouldn't be having these turnout issues.
It also means that if Corzine and/or Deeds can somehow close the enthusiasm gap in the final three weeks of the campaign Democrats might not lose both of these races.