Among the more than a dozen Democratic senators who pressed President Barack Obama to fix problems with the law's implementation that have frustrated many Americans were several senators who face particularly tough races next November, including Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska. [As yesterday's post showed, American Crossroads is already hitting Senate Democrats over "you can keep it."]
Cuccinelli aides say the campaign was knocked off track by the 16-day government shutdown, which depressed fundraising and gave Mr. McAuliffe a bump in the polls just when the Cuccinelli camp had planned to pivot entirely to hammering on the health-care law. Only in the final two weeks did the campaign, by then nearly broke, find its footing with its attacks on the law, they said.
"We had the best wave in the world. We just didn't have the surfboard to ride it," said top Cuccinelli campaign strategist Chris LaCivita, who believes the issue "will only get worse" for Democrats.
Virginia exit polls found that a majority of Virginia voters opposed the health-care law, and that Mr. Cuccinelli performed strongly among those voters.
The same dynamic played out in New Jersey, where half of voters opposed the law, and 85% of those voters sided with Mr. Christie in his lopsided victory.