Politics Counts: Ohio’s Union Vote Shows Signs of Shifting Electorate

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Tuesday was a good day to be a Democrat.

A year after a massive electoral defeat and months of polls showing their president is in for a tough fight for re-election, a string of wins in states raging from Maine to Ohio to Mississippi gave the party faithful reason to smile. Even in Virginia, where it seemed all-but-certain Republicans would capture the state senate, the margins were perilously tight and a recount left things undetermined as of Wednesday morning.

What it all means for 2012, is far from clear. There is always a danger in reading too much into any election – and that’s doubly true in an off year when voter attention and turnout are low. Tuesday may seem like ancient history 12 months from now.

But looking closer at the results from Ohio’s proposal to tighten rules on public-sector unions and earlier results this year from a similar measure in Wisconsin, there may be a trend forming in the vote in small-town rural America and the suburbs. Republican efforts to curtail the rights of public-employee unions plays differently in these areas and, over time, could reshape the way we think of the American electorate in 2012 and beyond.

Read the entire piece in Thursday's Politics Counts Blog in the Wall Street Journal.

See the maps below to study Tuesday's vote on public sector unions more in-depth.