The Republicans have taken a special election for a House seat in Arizona 8, but it's "good" for Dems because they only lost by 5 points in a deeply red district that Trump won by 21 points. Oh brother! No wonder I can't watch CNN for more than 10 minutes. That's like saying the trend is bad because instead of my team winning 21-0, they won 21-16. A win is a win and there's no such thing as a moral victory. Sheesh!
So you're not a betting man I guess. When a team that's a 20 point dog loses by 5 they've more than covered the spread. That affects their rating in the rankings, and the spread against the next team they play. It's not much of a stretch to apply this kind of thinking to politics. For any Europeans that might be tuning in: If Man U is a 2 goal favorite over the Hot Spurs and they end up winning 1-0 on a flukey corner in stoppage time that doesn't speak too highly of Manchester's chances when they move on to the next round. For the American football fans: A win is a win, but if you don't cover the spread against the Browns on your home turf it's not much of a confidence boost.