A wave is a wave is a wave.
The polls were mostly right, but with a distinctly Democratic bias. As Nate Silver explained in his FiveThirtyEight blog, most Senate polls seriously underestimated the extent of the Republican victory. At times, by a lot.
Of course, the event is the event. How it is reported in the media is something else.
So, naturally we turn to the New York Times to see whether the newspaper of record is spinning the Democratic defeat in its news columns. Opinion is opinion… another story altogether.
As it happens, the Times account strikes me as fair and balanced. The paper does not sugarcoat the results. It does not disparage a national mood that pollsters and commentators had been trying to dampen.
See if you agree with me:
Resurgent Republicans took control of the Senate on Tuesday night, expanded their hold on the House, and defended some of the most closely contested governors’ races, in a repudiation of President Obama that will reorder the political map in his final years in office.
Propelled by economic dissatisfaction and anger toward the president, Republicans grabbed Democratic Senate seats in North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana and South Dakota to gain their first Senate majority since 2006. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a shrewd Republican tactician, cruised to re-election and stood poised to achieve a goal he has pursued for years — Senate majority leader.
An election that started as trench warfare, state by state and district by district, crested into a sweeping Republican victory. Contests that were expected to be close were not, and races expected to go Democratic broke narrowly for the Republicans. The uneven character of the economic recovery added to a sense of anxiety, leaving voters in a punishing mood, particularly for Democrats in Southern states and the Mountain West, where political polarization deepened.
The biggest surprises of the night came in North Carolina, where the Republican,Thom Tillis, came from behind to beat Senator Kay Hagan, and in Virginia. There, Senator Mark Warner, a former Democratic governor of the state, was thought to be one of the safest incumbents in his party, and instead found himself clinging to the narrowest of leads against a former Republican Party chairman, Ed Gillespie.
Those contests were measures of how difficult the terrain was for Democrats in an election where Republicans put together their strategy as a referendum on the competence of government, embodied by Mr. Obama.
House seats where Democrats had fought off Republican encroachment for years were finally toppled. Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, was easily re-elected in Wisconsin, a state that voted twice for Mr. Obama. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott, once considered endangered, finished the night on top. And states that had seemingly been trending Democratic, like Colorado and Iowa, fell into Republican hands.
With at least a nine-seat gain and most likely more, House Republicans will have close to 245 seats, the largest Republican majority since the Truman administration.
For those who care about how the story is being told, the rest of the report is well worth a read.