TODAY   |  November 06, 2013

What Tuesday’s elections may mean for 2016

The results in New Jersey and Virginia may shed light on the presidential race in 2016, with gubernatorial candidates Chris Christie winning in New Jersey and Terry McAuliffe taking a narrow lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia. NBC News’ Chuck Todd reports.

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>>> that is those election results across the country. the take away for both parties. chuck todd is nbc's political director and our white house correspondent. good morning to you.

>> good morning, matt. the first test of the political climate is decidedly mixed this morning in this day after with the dust settled. republicans are crowing about the big chris christie landslide in new jersey as he becomes the front-runner for the 2016 presidential race . the tea party is feeling no less embolden. today, finger pointing. tea party activists what might have been in virginia and democrats in a panic about how health care almost cost them that race. the big winners are no surprise this morning.

>> i sought a second term to finish the job. now watch me do it.

>> the real drama there wasn't about whether christie would win, but whether he would drop any hints about 2016 .

>> i know that if we can do this in trenton, new jersey, maybe the folks in washington, d.c., should tune in their tvs right now.

>> christie wanted to prove he is a different republican. did he that. winning voters only some republicans dream up. 51% of hispanics, 21% of african-americans and 32% of registered democrats. new jerseyians are not quite ready to send him to the white house if the opponent is hillary clinton . they would prefer clinton over their governor. but election night 's most compelling drama was the nail biter virginia governor 's race. democrat terry mcauliffe getting a win over ken cutenlli. he credited the controversy over health care with making it a much tight erase.

>> this race came down to the wire because of obama care.

>> virginia exit polls show voters were sour on health care with 53% saying they oppose the law. but mcauliffe got a boost from the other polarizing october issue. 48% of voters blamed republicans for the government shutdown . back to christie , matt, he gets to go on the national stage immediately. not only is he now serving a second term in new jersey, new york city media market , but he's going to take over the republican governor's association. what does that mean? he actually has an excuse to essentially travel to every state in the country in 2014 .

>> chuck, let's stay on that race. it's another win for him in a heavily democratic state . the margins are worth noting. the demographics also worth noting. what jumps out at you?

>> well, i go back to the hispanic demographic more than anything else. 51%. when you think about what is the republican party 's biggest problem right now in winning national elections? it is the fact that hispanics have been moving so decidedly against republicans. now, does this mean that christie is going to get somewhere between 35% and 40%? if he's on the national ticket in 2016 and he can just get 35% to 36, 37% of the hispanic vote, he's going to be president of the united states .

>> let's talk about he has been very critical of the republican strategy of shutting down the government last month. he called it a monumental failure. so what does his victory yesterday in new jersey, what message does it send to the right-wing of his party in particular the tea party ?

>> well, that's going to be -- that's going to be interesting to see how they respond to it. it's interesting in the new jersey exit poll . here chris christie winning in a landslide. the favorability rating of the republican party was totally underwater in the state of new jersey , 57% having an unfavorable view of the pear, less than 40% having a favorable view. will the tea party accept this? i don't think so. i think they're looking in virginia and say guess what? we stuck to our guns. we tried to make health care the be all, end all issue. and the establishment republicans walked away from us. i had people telling me last night they spent weeks begging chris christie to come to virginia and campaign with cucenelli and christie said no.