Why McAuliffe barely squeaked by

Why McAuliffe barely squeaked by

How the heck did that happen?

Most public polls leading up to Election Day had Democrat Terry McAuliffe coasting to victory, some by double digits, in the Virginia governor’s race. Instead he squeaked by, beating Republican Ken Cuccinelli by less than 3 percentage points.

The much-closer-than-expected outcome blunts the narrative that this was a clean win for Democrats going into 2014 and guarantees an intense blame game among Republicans about what might have put Cuccinelli over the top.

Based on a review of returns, exit polls and conversations with operatives, here are six takeaways from the surprise election of the night:

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