Ken Cuccinelli and the rest of the Republican party said that the Virginia Governor's race was a referendum on Obamacare. They made the claim so often that the media started to echo "A referendum on Obamacare" throughout the campaigning.
Now that Cuccinelli has lost, the "referendum" meme doesn't sound so great after all.
"After Cuccinelli’s closer-than-expected loss, the defiant candidate and his supporters said the election results were only a blip on the radar of the larger conservative struggle as they blamed the defeat on Obamacare and a deluge of Democratic attack ads."
Now the only reason Cuccinelli had any chance of winning the election at all is because of Obamacare, the shiny new catch-all for all things bad and evil.
"According to the exit polls, only 27 percent of Virginia voters saw the health law as the top issue, and among them, only a bare plurality (49-45) supported Cuccinelli. Far more (45 percent) named the economy.
It’s true 53 percent in the exit polling oppose Obamacare, versus 46 percent who support it. But as we’ve seen, the more fine grained national polling has steadily revealed a small but non-trivial percentage in the opposing camp who disapproves because it doesn’t go far enough, meaning the GOP position is a minority one. (Some pundits simply refuse to entertain these nuances of public opinion, but they exist.) National polls also show that disapproval, while real, doesn’t translate into support for getting rid of the law entirely, and that majorities want to give it a chance."
An Independent who voted for McAuliffe said:
“Cuccinelli is beyond conservative,” said [Daniel] Teddla, an independent. “He is too extreme.” He said he voted not so much for McAuliffe as against Republican attitudes toward women’s health and the Affordable Care Act. “Obamacare isn’t perfect, but they are not working to make it better. They are just totally against it.”
This was not a referendum on the Affordable Care Act. It was an election for state office, and Republicans lost the races for governor and lieutenant governor. And if the exit polling is a true indicator, they lost because they simply aren't doing anything that helps the majority of the American people.