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Election day: What does it mean?

The Wall Street Journal: "Republicans appear positioned for strong results in three hard-fought elections Tuesday. But isolated, off-year contests aren't always reliable indicators of what will happen in the wider federal and state races held in even-numbered years."

More: "Democrats and Republicans are jostling to glean messages from voters in a race for a U.S. House seat in far northern New York, as well as from contests for governor in New Jersey and Virginia. Republicans, increasingly optimistic, say the contests foreshadow trouble for President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party's ambitious agenda heading toward the 2010 congressional elections."

The Wall Street Journal also takes a final look at the oft-scrutinized "intensity factor" that is seen as a determining factor in the outcome of today's gubernatorial and special elections. For New Jersey, the Journal writes. "It's entirely possible that the intensity meter in this governor's race will show there simply isn't much on either side. An ugly campaign appears to have made each major candidate less appealing." Virginia's "race is where an intensity gap seems most likely, and most beneficial to Republicans. And in New York's 23rd district, "the question … is whether national Republican leaders have managed to create more intensity on their side -- or, perversely, have managed to generate it for the Democratic underdog" by throwing their support behind the third-party Conservative candidate. "Watch what kind of intensity -- if any -- now emerges among moderate Republicans."

USA Today: "Elections in a handful of states today, including governors' races in New Jersey and Virginia, loom as the first significant electoral test of the coalition that swept President Obama and congressional Democrats to victory one year ago. This time, Democrats are braced for a tough night: Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds trailed Republican Bob McDonnell by double digits in late statewide polls. In New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine was neck-and-neck with GOP challenger Chris Christie."

The New York Times' Nagourney writes, "Some Democrats said they are concerned that an early surge of support for a third-party candidate, Christopher J. Daggett, which appeared to come at the expense of Mr. Christie, is now fading as anti-Corzine voters settle on Mr. Christie. Polls close at 8 p.m., and if the race turns out to be as close with as polls suggest, this could be yet another close American election with no conclusion by the time everyone goes to sleep."