From a partisan perspective, yesterday’s election results brought modest gains to the Democratic Party. The headlines will note that Democrats won the governorship of red state Kentucky and the state Senate in red state Virginia. No doubt, their partisans will note that the results give new hope to tip these states to the Democratic column in 2008. We’ll see.

There are some other results, however, that should bring smiles to conservatives, and pause to Capitol Hill insiders who believe the public will look the other way when higher taxes are proposed.

First, in the dark blue state of New Jersey, voters rejected an ambitious measure to spend an additional $450 million over 10 years to fund stem cell research. This is the cultural wedge issue liberals have been promoting for some time, and it flopped big time in New Jersey. Gov. Jon Corzine endorsed the measure and campaigned heavily for it. The result should underline the belief that voters are smart enough to distinguish between real medical progress and over hyped claims of miracle cures.

Second, in the slightly less blue state of Oregon, voters rejected by a 3 to 2 margin a proposal to pay for children’s health care with a tobacco tax increase. This is similar to the vast expansion of the federal program that liberals are trying to pass in Washington. Unlike liberal legislators, voters understand that regressive and poorly targeted tax increases retard economic development and jobs growth. Voters also understand that additional government-provided benefits should be limited to helping the truly needy. Hopefully Capitol Hill liberals will get the message.

Now if Republicans could just harness these messages to actually elect more conservatives to office.