Election Night Results Foreshadow Competitive 2012

Organized labor in Ohio is taking a victory lap for its work in defeating a ballot initiative that would have limited collective bargaining rights for union workers.

The “personhood” initiative goes down to defeat in Mississippi, even as the GOP candidate for governor who campaigned for it easily won his election.

Maine voters reject a new voter ID law.

And Republican hopes of winning control of the state Senate in Virginia have come down to 86 votes.

What does this all mean?

First, that voters don’t seem particularly interested in ideological battles that have little impact on their core concerns about fixing the economy and creating jobs. Democrats will also argue that talk of anemic support from their base, especially in the key battleground state of Ohio, has been overstated.

Second, the narrowness of the state Senate victories in Virginia portend equally narrow margins in the highly competitive presidential and U.S. Senate contests in this state next fall. The partisan waves that washed over Virginia in 2008 and 2010 seem to be receding.