It's now clear that Michael Bloomberg became New York's third term mayor because of the Catholic vote.

Irish and Italians in the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island provided the margin of victory for Bloomberg in a much tighter contest than was anticipated. An early analysis of voting by The New York Times confirms this fact.

Once again, Irish Catholics proved a key swing vote. While they lack the numbers, they are the most important niche vote in the city right now.

Stunned Bloomberg aides told The New York Times they had expected a blowout, but the big loser on the night was not the Democratic challenger, Comptroller William Thompson.

That would be Congressman Anthony Weiner, who missed his chance at history by withdrawing from the race when it looked like Bloomberg was a shoo-in with a massive war chest. Weiner would have been a much more formidable opponent than Thompson.

In the end, voters deeply resented Mayor MIke for putting himself in the race by changing the two-term-limit rules. Their anger overcame the fact that 70 percent of them thought he was doing a good job as Mayor.

His near-death experience does not bode well for City Council President Christine Quinn, who wants to be mayor in four years and went along with the term limit overturn to further her career. The Irish American pol will have her work cut out for her.

Elsewhere  across the country, the same anti-incumbent mood was in clear view.

In almost every major race, the party on the outs was elected. The message was clear: People are worried sick abut the economy and the politicians in power don't get it.

In upstate New York, a Democrat was elected for the first time in over 100 years thanks to right-wing talk shows and the Wall Street Journal editorial page driving the selected Republican from the race.

In New Jersey, Jon Corzine couldn't spend his way to victory, and in Virginia, Notre Dame grad Bob McDonnell  ran a smart centrist campaign that got him elected.

The message for Obama and leaders of both parties? We're hurting out here. Do something.