As expected, New Jersey voters gave their combative Republican governor a second term, while Terry McAuliffe, the Clintons' favorite bagman and alligator wrestler, eked out a narrow win in Virginia.

There was no surprise in the New Jersey results but the closeness of the Virginia balloting may have shocked strategists in both parties.

Three things initially stand out about Tuesday's voting, and all three are warning signs Democrats and Republicans alike would do well to ponder closely.

Christie and 2016

First, expect a flood of stories for several weeks in the traditional media about how Christie's dominant win "proves" that Republicans must "move back to the middle," forget the social issues and abandon the Tea Party.

As usual, the conventional wisdom will be wrong largely because that analysis misses the key to understanding why Christie is quite likely the most credible politician in America, at least for now.

People believe Christie even if they don't agree with him. He is not seen as a double-talking, spin-crazy, self-serving professional politician. When public trust in government is at an all-time low, believability is the sine qua non of political success.

Sleaze in Richmond

Second, Virginians should be prepared for four years of scandal with McAuliffe in the governor's mansion. The reason is simple: Politics and business are two sides of the same coin for this walking, talking, breathing conflict of interest.

As he told the New York Times a few years ago, McAuliffe "met all of my business contacts through politics. It's all interrelated." Whenever he meets somebody new, McAuliffe's first thought is how to shake them down for cash.

That's a prescription for political corruption of the most venal kind. Prediction: McAuliffe isn't nearly as slick as the Clintons, so investigative reporters are going to have a field day in Virginia for the next four years.

Obamacare cancels the shutdown

Third, remember the government shutdown? The one that boosted McAuliffe to a double-digit lead over Republican Tea Party favorite Ken Cuccinelli?

Then came Oct. 1 and the spectacular failure of, the Obamacare program's main Internet portal. It's been nothing but Obamacare horror stories ever since.

McAuliffe brought in the biggest guns of all, President Obama, former President Bill Clinton and — she thinks — future President Hillary Clinton. Big Labor also poured at least $3 million into the Virginia race at the end.

And still, McAuliffe won by only about 56,000 votes out of more than two million cast in a deep-purple state against a GOP opponent crippled by an ethics cloud, too little money and a hostile traditional media. Conclusion: Obamacare spells disaster for Democrats in 2014.

On today's Washington Examiner

Editorial: Time to restore Americans' right to unlock their cell phones.

Michael Barone: Reflections on the Virginia and New Jersey results.

David M. Drucker: After big win, Chris Christie pivots to presidential run.

Susan Ferrechio: Democrats demand changes during another day of Obamacare skewering.

Noemie Emery: Vulnerable Democrats cast wary eyes toward Obamacare and 2014 elections.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth: Obamacare subsidies at stake in two new federal court cases.

In other news

The Washington Post: Tea Party favorite loses in Alabama GOP House run-off.

The New York Times: Audacious liberal Bill de Blasio is accustomed to exceeding expectations.

CNN: Paul defiant on plagiarism charges.

The Telegraph (UK): BP, Shell rigged oil price, traders allege in suit.

USA Today: Twitter may fly on first day.

Time Magazine: FCC may end sports blackout rule.

Righty Playbook

The Weekly Standard: Questions they won't answer on Benghazi.

Human Events: Why Republicans will continue to lose.

Washington Free Beacon: China's cyber espionage grows.

Lefty Playbook

Talking Points Memo: Harry Reid opens door on nuking filibuster on judges.

The Nation: Don't get too excited about the Christie victory.

Washington Monthly: Counter-polarizing the Social Security reform debate.