If you wanted to predict the results of Tuesday’s gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, you would have been wise to ignore the flurry of polls and campaign events. You would have paid no heed to the conventional wisdom that Republican Ed Gillespie had a solid chance to beat Ralph Northam in Virginia.
In fact, Northam’s 9-point victory margin in Virginia was not much different from Phil Murphy’s 13-point margin over Republican Kim Guadagno in New Jersey. And both almost precisely mirrored the 2016 presidential results. Hillary Clinton carried New Jersey by a 55-41 percent margin last year; Murphy won it by a 56-43 percent margin this week. Clinton carried Virginia by a 50-44 percent margin; Northam won it 54-45 percent. The two Democrats, lacking Clinton’s reputation for dishonesty, gained a few points she lost to third-party candidates; the two Republicans got almost exactly the same percentages as Donald Trump did in 2016.
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