Latest returns: The races that matter

Obama's late-night victory capped an evening of solid returns for Democrats in several significant races.

By Kim Peterson Nov 6, 2012 10:57PM
Voter voting in polling place Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Getty ImagesUpdated 11:40 p.m. ET

We've seen a pretty crushing Republican defeat Tuesday night, from Mitt Romney's loss at the top down to key Congressional races across the country.

Now, the focus of the nation will quickly shift to the so-called fiscal cliff. Can President Obama avert disaster? Will Republicans and Democrats work together moving forward?

We saw a historic election play out. Obama clinched victory fairly early in the night, capping a rise that seemed inconceivable to Republicans and even some Democrats not too long ago.

Obama won handily even in a stumbling economy that may get worse before it gets better. He won even as the unemployment rate still hovers close to 8%. He won even amid severe criticism of his handling of the economy.

But will anything be different Wednesday morning? America still has significant problems, and perhaps now realizes more than ever how fractured its electorate appears to be. Obama has a long four years ahead of him, and the glow from the election will wear off quickly.

Called for Obama
11:15 p.m.

Even with four states still left to report, the media has called it for Obama. This wrapped up far earlier than I expected; some pundits worried the election would still be undecided by Wednesday morning.

Ohio brought the goods for Obama, pushing him above the 270 electoral votes he needed to win.

Did Springsteen help?
10:58 p.m.

Bruce Springsteen campaigned for Obama and spent nearly an entire day with him on Air Force One this week, hopping to rallies in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa. Another artist, Jay-Z, also made a well-publicized appearance. "Bruce Springsteen, and some other celebrities who have been helping us, reach a broad audience that sometimes tune out what's being said by politicians," an Obama spokeswoman told The New York Daily News.

Did Springsteen help that much? "If Obama wins, what will he owe Springsteen. How about 'The Oval Office Recording Studio?'" joked CNBC's Steve Liesman on Twitter.

From the Twitterverse
"America really is split straight down the middle, and almost certainly politically gridlocked. Not good for America. Not good for the world." -- Matthew Bishop, The Economist.

Nate Silver's revenge?
10:45 p.m. ET

One of the running controversies throughout the campaign has been the steadfast projections of Nate Silver of the FiveThirtyEight blog. A proud statistics nerd, Silver has analyzed and summarized the polls and forecast an Obama victory pretty much from the beginning.

His steady predictions, seemingly contrarian at times, won criticism from many parts of the Republican party and from other pollsters and news sites.

But as the results come back, Silver is mostly being proven correct. Is this a victory for statistical analysis over punditry?

Medical marijuana passes
10:27 p.m. ET

Massachusetts is now the 18th state to legalize medical marijuana. This wasn't much of a surprise, as polls showed pretty solid support for the measure known as Question 3.

Unlike voters in Washington and Colorado, Massachusetts voters were not voting to allow the recreational use of marijuana. The results from those other states have not come in yet.

Marijuana use of any type is still against federal law. But a full-blown industry has sprung up in response to the medical marijuana measures that have already passed across the country.

Christie's bet pays off?
10:15 p.m. ET

So far, it looks like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie seems to have made a politically smart call when he praised President Obama's response to Superstorm Sandy, irritating Republicans across the board.

Christie was responding to the federal aid coming into his state at a time when residents badly needed it. But there were political motivations as well -- New Jersey is a blue state and Christie needs to think about 2016.

"The Romney supporters in my twitter feed are expressing rage at" Christie right now, wrote Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic on Twitter.

From the Twitterverse
"So far, turnout among young voters is HIGHER than 2008. Those who talked about disenchanted youth can shove it." -- Sally Kohn, Fox News contributor.

"Speaking for everyone who would love to vote for a fiscal conservative who is also pro-freedom, here's hoping GOP moves to center" -- Henry Blodget, Business Insider founder.

"Looks like we're going to get Obama, Dem Senate & GOP House again. What could go wrong?" -- Matt O'Brien, associate editor at The Atlantic.

Elizabeth Warren wins Massachusetts
9:53 p.m. ET

NBC has called the U.S. Senate race for Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who ran a fierce and closely watched campaign against Republican Scott Brown.

A Warren victory is a huge win and likely a significant worry for Wall Street. Warren may work to break up the banks, and reportedly suggested as much in a call with volunteers on Sunday.

"They have been lobbying the regulators to try to weaken the rules, to put loopholes in them, to try to delay them and try to get rid of them outright," she said, according to the Raw Story. "If they [regulations] are not strong enough, then I think we need to take another look at Glass-Steagall, separating the commercial banking activities from the investment activities."

The vote has generated intense analysis on Twitter. "Pundits who lament the decline of moderates in the political system should be mourning Scott Brown's exodus," wrote Matt Lewis, a columnist for The Week.

Read my colleague Charley Blaine's election night observations here.
Nov 7, 2012 1:06AM
Shouldn't talk down to the 47% Mitt.  If you had any clue, they are the United States!
Nov 7, 2012 12:58AM
Nov 7, 2012 7:28AM
So is that your new rant, MG? The 47% pay no taxes? I pay plenty of taxes and sales tax twice. When you put all the entitlements of the poor on a scale against the entitlements of the wealthyt, the scale slams down in imbalance. Let's abolish the Tax Reform Act and the Gramm Leach Bliley Act TODAY and see what we've got. My guess, you deadbeats have a lot less and get cracking at those McDonald's Fry Cook jobs you qualify for.
We have been so screwed. So, this is how America dies.....a liar in office, and a buffon in the side-wings. Trillions of dollars in debt, tax the rich....give me a break. Idiot-in-charge is his n.ew title
Nov 7, 2012 9:08AM

Republicans were running on HOPE. They were reminded that Hope is not a method.


This election have prove that Republicans need to wake up soon before they become irrelevant. 


Either move the country forward or risk losing the house and then it's bye bye.




Obama needs to step up and live up to his words. Drive the country forward with no more excuses.

Nov 7, 2012 7:43AM
Very disappointed in Obama's first turn as President.  I sincerely hope he sees how many people were against him and moves to the cernter in his second turn.  If he thinks he got a mandate from this election he's dumber than George Bush was with his second term.
Nov 7, 2012 1:05AM
The Mitt Witt could not even win Mass or Mich ? LOL But then they know him . How do you fight socialism ? Wall street is socialized with all the treasury bailouts of banks ? But then they did not pay their tax money back like Chrysler did .. Hmmm?
Nov 7, 2012 2:28AM

Speaking on behalf of Michigan... Mitt who?


CONGRATULATIONS, MR. PRESIDENT... We the People look forward to Progress and the chance to restore what matters most in America... FREEDOM, OPPORTUNITY & FAIRNESS.

Nov 7, 2012 4:39AM
WOW - V_L --- another pipe dreamer

1.  No one will be seizing anything.  Who in your progressive/fascist dream is going to do the seizing.?  I and other current and former military will stand down.  Cross the line and we will be standing up with our boot on the leadership.

2.  Government broke it.  Wake up and put the notice where it belongs.

3.  You can thank government again for empowering big business.  Try to think harder before assuming government can take any action to help labor or small business.

4.  Once again, government saved the banks when the market came calling in 2007 and 2008.  They financed Obama's campaign.  They are a manifestation of your (and many others') personal choices.  TAKE THE RED PILL MAN !

5.  YES --- the fed has got to go!   
Nov 7, 2012 7:39AM

THANK YOU, Massachusetts... Elizabeth Warren is a fine choice for your voice in Congress. She can help us all figure a way out of the credit crisis.

Nov 7, 2012 2:36AM

"Let's see if a Republican House can work with Obama and fix the problems of our country."


1. Seize the Rothschild Bank of the Caymans- let's see who has what where it shouldn't be.

2. Seize the Koches, Rove and all the other dark money- let's see who should be in GITMO.

3. Put big business on notice-- fix what you broke- right now, bear the cost and take the loss.

4. Invert the trend- paper pushers reduced to pennies, labor and small business to make plenty.

5. Close the banks, end the Federal Reserve, get rid of Wall Street. Tools of fools need to go.

Nov 7, 2012 4:27AM
SORRY REPUBLICANS --- But your establishment candidate strategy is a loser.  You will be extinguished or embrace liberty (smaller government).  Thinking that fairness can be dictated is another delusion for the pawns (eg V_L) of the progressive control freaks.

RON PAUL is a growing martyr and the libertarian movement continues to grow and will carry the future.  The election of Barack Obama will help push the reality of the consequences of personality based voting onto the electorate.  After our freedoms are further eroded, the correcting backlash will  finally exterminate the progressive cancer for at least a few generations.

ARM AND PRACTICE - We are ultimately free of anything Washington attempts as long as we are prepared for sacrificing our lives for liberty (the ultimate control freak therapy).

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