Here's something mrs whatsit wrote in the comments to last night's election post. (I found the photos to illustrate her painful observations about the appearance of the 2 men, and I corrected her misspelling of "Scozzafava.")
A few points about the Congressional race from someone who lives in upstate NY (not in district 23, but nearby.)
1) We have been inundated with TV commercials here. On TV, Hoffman comes across as exceedingly weird, skinny and overeager with googly eyes, bright yellow teeth, and an odd, halting way of speaking.
He kept repeating a slogan that he was a common-sense Reagan conservative and common sense isn't so common any more. It got annoying.
Owens, by contrast, is big and rugged-looking. He's an Air Force veteran and he has that military solidity, calm and self-possession.
He seems like a country guy, and this is a rural district. He presented himself as a centrist. On the human level, Owens is the kind of person voters around here feel comfortable with. Hoffman's not. Neither was Scozzafava.
2) On the numbers -- as of this morning, with 93 percent of the vote counted, the math-challenged local newspaper is reporting that the split is 46 percent Hoffman, 49 percent Owens, and 6 percent Scozzafava, who was still on the ballot, not having quit until Saturday. (Adds up to 101 percent, but who's counting?) In any event, Scozzafava's vote is bigger than the split, which seems to put most attempts to diagnose the Owens/Hoffman outcome into guesswork territory.
Owens came across as to the right of Ms. Scozzafava, whose ads emphasized her support for such lefty favorites as card check. Hoffman, by contrast, seemed to belong pretty far over on the right. Upstate NY has traditionally been rock-ribbed Republican but has been trending Democratic recently, with the result that Blue Dog Democrats and other center-tending politicos have been doing well. I don't think the Owens win has as much to do with the candidates' political parties, though, as it does with who they are personally and with their ad presentations.