As I just discussed, last night showed signs of survival for the Democratic majorities in Congress. The most important sign was the Dem victory in western Pennsylvania, in a district the Cook Political Report rates as R+1, meaning voters are pretty evenly split in their party preference. It was the only district that Kerry won in 2004 but that McCain won in 2008. The Democratic Congressman at the time, Rep. John Murtha, got in big trouble when he suggested that Obama would have trouble in his district because the people were "racist."
If there's one person who should be feeling good about last night's results in Pennsylvania, it's Wisconsin State Senator Julie Lassa, the presumed Democratic nominee to run for Wisconsin's 7th Congressional district.
The similarities between the Pennsylvania district and Wisconsin's 7th district are striking. Both are losing long-time Democratic institutions who brought home the bacon for decades. In Wisconsin, Dave Obey is retiring as chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Similarly, during his time as chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Murtha ensured (often in ethically dubious ways) western PA a steady stream of lucrative defense contracts.
In addition, the districts are very similar demographically. Both are 95 percent white, and both have a high percentage of working class voters. Both are majority rural.
Watch the economy. If it gets better, the Republicans don't have a chance. If it dips again, then voters will start to take the anti-incumbency thing seriously again. But then again, the most effective anti-incumbent force in the country is the Tea Party, and their success may not align with that of the GOP.