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Looking back at the election

Obama was the declared the winner of North Carolina yesterday, which the AP called a "symbolic triumph." "Obama's win in North Carolina was the first for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter won the state in 1976."

"The USA Today/Gallup survey, conducted on Wednesday and released yesterday, asked how people felt about Obama's election: 67 percent said proud, 67 percent said optimistic, and 59 percent said excited. Thirty percent said pessimistic, and 27 percent said afraid." 
"Whether whites supported Barack Obama or not, they don't seem to have lied to pollsters about it. Obama's election triumph on Tuesday presented no evidence of the so-called Bradley effect, in which whites who oppose a black politician mislead pollsters about whom they will vote for. Instead, national and state pre-election polls were generally accurate in reflecting voters' preferences in the presidential contest."

In his latest National Journal column, Charlie Cook wonders why Democrats, despite their gains, weren't able to win even more races down the ballot. "There is no shortage of theories. It could be that a lot of first-time and younger voters cast their ballots for Obama but didn't bother to venture down the ballot. Once the final vote tallies are tabulated, we will have a better idea of whether that happened. Or maybe there was a determined effort to apply checks and balances. By deciding to elect Obama president, more than a few voters may have opted to keep the Republican incumbent in place, just to prevent Democrats from getting carried away. Another theory … is that in the states where the Obama campaign was the strongest, it was able to deliver big numbers of voters who boosted Democratic hopes, but in other states, notably Southern ones such as Tennessee and Oklahoma, Obama may have been something of a liability."

But it might also be that the Democrats were pretty much maxed out. Cook writes, "It is important to remember that in the U.S. House and in many of the state legislative contests, Democrats had already gained many seats in 2006. And since you can't pick up a seat you have already won, Democrats were defending a lot of seats in districts previously held by Republicans."

"The euphoria sweeping the nation, and the globe, has led to an uptick in the number of parents naming their children Barack or Obama. A Florida couple named their baby Sanjae Obama Fisher when he was born Tuesday, just hours before the Illinois senator clinched victory. Several mothers in Kenya, where Obama's father was from, were also reported to be naming their baby boys after the U.S.' first African-American President -- or after soon-to-be First Lady Michelle if they were girls. And in Sierra Leone, six out of 10 male newborns in the capital's main maternity hospital were named Barack Obama Wednesday morning, doctors said."