RealClearPolitics has a nice rundown of various 2009/10 races of import. A quick look down the line shows immediate promise and long-run potential. If Americans got confused during the last eight years and needed a reminder that the economy isn't going to recover by recycling the economic policies of the 30s and 70s, they are getting it this year.
Here's a quick summary of why the political mood has changed drastically in less than 12 months: Taking more money out of peoples' pockets during a recession is a terrible idea. Obamacare, cap & trade, and proposed taxes on soda, alcohol and other consumer products all promise to continue taking more money out of peoples' pockets for years to come. Not to mention, Obama's deficit will hit $1.4 TRILLION this year, which is almost triple Bush's largest deficit.
People are finally realizing that for all of Obama's socialist fumbling in (or intended overwhelming of) the economy, the results have been a) all efforts at stimulus have failed to create any jobs and b) those who have kept their jobs will have shrunken paychecks in the years to come in order to pay off the massive deficit already run up and/or below average health care coverage and increased production and energy costs as a result of cap & trade.
An important number for 2010 is the Generic Congressional Vote poll, which measures which party people are likely to vote for in a congressional race regardless of candidate. Currently, Republicans anywhere from a +4 advantage (Rasmussen) to a -2 deficit (Gallup - registered voters). Regardless of which number is closer to reality, it is a huge upgrade over the past 6 to 12 months.
Rasmussen: On 3/1/09, Democrats had a +2 advantage, and on 10/5/08, Democrats were +8.
Gallup: In 7/09, Democrats had a +6 advantage, on in 11/08, Democrats were +15. Republicans have gone from -7 among registered independents to +9 since last year.
This is in addition to the two 2009 governors races, in which Republicans are showing great life:
NJ: Christie up an average of 2.3 over Corzine over the past two weeks.
VA: McDonnell up 11 over Mr. Deeds.