Even putting aside the bizarre idea that Republicans "won" Virginia because they didn't lose by as much as the polls predicted...it was about as mixed an election day as possible, wasn't it?
* Democrats win! After all the two biggest pickups on the day were VA-Gov and NYC Mayor, both to the Democrats.
* Republicans win! Context matters. Yes, Republicans lost VA-Gov, but winning a landslide in New Jersey Governor is a big deal in a solidly Democratic state, more so than losing by a bit in a swing state.
* Mainstream conservatives win! Chris Christie massively outperforms GOP par in NJ-Gov, while Tea Party friendly Ken Cuccinelli slightly underperforms GOP par in VA-Gov. Meanwhile, the mainstream conservative beats the Tea Party candidate in AL-1.
* Tea Party wins! Yes, the conservative won in AL-1. But not by much, and with almost everything on his side except for the Tea Party/"establishment" split. If the big goal of Tea Party primary challenges is keeping Republicans in Congress terrified: mission accomplished.
* Liberals win! New York City is a big deal, and it now has a very liberal mayor. That's one new liberal who, today, has a major national platform.
The thing is: all of these are correct. Add into the mix mostly status-quo results in the NJ and VA legislature, and "muddle" looks like a reasonable assessment.
Standard warning: do not assume that yesterday's results even hint at anything about the 2014 general elections, let alone 2016. Ignore anything that even hints at it. These elections are important because of and to the extent to which New Jersey and Virginia state elections and the other elections contested yesterday are important. The main exception, I think, is the AL-1 GOP runoff, which certainly may have an effect on other elections.
Oh, and the other thing? At the end of the day, what matters in almost all of these cases is who won, not how it's interpreted. So if the press buys into some of these stories and not others, it's just not a big deal. Spin can matter, but usually reality matters a lot more.