* Mark Murray and Domenico Montararo do a nice job cutting through the GOP spin on the Virginia results with a close look at the exit polls:
Bottom line from these statistics: The health-care law isn’t popular, but that unpopularity didn’t ultimately damage McAuliffe. What’s more likely is that the problems with the president’s health-care site rollout — and Cuccinelli emphasizing it over the last couple of weeks — fired up the GOP base.
Right. The health law polls badly, and the rollout problems may have shifted the outcome a bit. But disapproval of Obamacare just doesn’t translate into meaningful support for getting rid of it entirely, at least outside the GOP base (or outside the GOP bubble).
“I am very frustrated with the rollout of the exchanges,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). “The dysfunction and delays are unacceptable. After meeting with the president today, I remain deeply convinced that this is a ‘show-me’ moment.”
* An important but overlooked story from Steve Benen: Outside the Beltway, Democrats are slowly pushing the minimum wage forward in the states, and you can expect Senate Dems to bring up the issue soon, as a way of stimulating the economy.
* While the Beltway dithered over whether a Republican loss in a major swing state was terrible news for Obamacare, a reality check from Neil Irwin: “The Great Recession may have crushed America’s economic potential.”
* A tough piece from David Dayen on Democratic complicity in the cuts to food stamps Dems are lamenting so loudly right now.
* Kevin Drum is good on the widespread warnings that a de Blasio mayoralty means New York is at risk of sliding back into chaos, as if violent crime has not come down in other cities, too.
* Benjy Sarlin on the Incredible Shrinking Presidential Ambitions of Marco Rubio, which are perhaps most visible in his constant efforts to do penance with the right wing for daring to engage in bipartisan problem solving on immigration.
* A fascinating look from Ben Pershing at the McAuliffe campaign’s relentless targeting of female voters, which really seems like a key way Dems are outworking Republicans right now.
* Paul Waldman does a dive into the polling on Obamacare and finds it to be eerily unchanged from before the rocky rollout started. His suggested reason why:
The most obvious answer is that the people who care deeply about the ACA already know what they think. Beyond that though, I think Republicans haven’t been able to translate the problems of the last month into a change in opinion because their warnings were so apocalyptic that even what has gone wrong hasn’t lived up to their hype. They used to say, “This law will destroy every last shred of our freedom!” and now they’re saying, “The website should be working better!”
In other words, they are victims of the closed conservative information feedback loop.
* Ezra Klein makes a good point: What the Virginia numbers really show is that opinion on Obamacare is largely unchanged since the 2012 election, in which (if memory serves) GOP attacks on the law didn’t accomplish much more than squandering untold millions.
* While Peyton Craighill aptly uses the exit polling to poke still more holes in the GOP spin, noting that some folks who saw health care as the top issue actually voted for the Democrat. Startling, but true!
* But as Paul Krugman notes, and this really can’t be repeated enough: All that really matters is whether the policy known as the Affordable Care Act actually works.