So that we all may better understand what happened in the Nov. 7 midterm elections, why it happened and how it happened,herewithisasummaryofthe more salient results of the national exit poll for Houseraces.Thepoll,whichisavailableonthe CNN Web site, involved more than 13,000 interviews of voters leaving polling stations across the country. Given that the exit polling for the tight Senate races in Virginia, Missouri andTennesseeverycloselyparalleledthefinal results,thefindingsfromtheentirenationalpoll are highly credible.
Democratic House candidates apparently received 53.6 percent of the popular vote. That was nearly 9 points higher than the 44.9 percent of the vote that Republican candidates received. While candidates of both parties received more than 90 percent of the votes of their party colleagues, self-identified independents, who comprised 26 percent of the electorate, supported Democrats by a 5739 margin. Regionally, Republicans won a majority only in the South (52-46). Democrats won in the Northeast (64-35), the Midwest (53-46) and the West (53-44). Democ- rats won a 51-48 majority among the large and growing segment (47 percent in 2006) of suburban voters.
Democratic candidates received majority support from both men (51-47) and women (56-43). While Republican House candidates won the white vote (51-47), Democrats won sizable majorities from blacks (8910), Hispanics (69-29) and Asians (62-37). Democrats swept the broad age brackets, ranging from a 60-38 majority from 18-to29-year-olds to a 51-47 majority from those 60 years and older.
Republican candidates won a majority (51-47) of votes from the 22 percent of voters earning more than $100,000, while Democrats won a 56-43 majority from the 78 percent of voters earning less than $100,000. Union members, who comprised 14 percent of the electorate, supported Democrats by a 68-30 margin; non-union voters provided Democrats with a much more narrow (51-48) majority. Half the electorate believed the economy was “not good” or “poor”; and more than three-fourths of them (77 percent) voted for Democrats.
Fifty-seven percent of voters disapproved of the way President Bush was handling his job, and 82 percent of them voted for Democrats. Seventy percent of the 61 percent of voters who disapproved of the job done by Congress voted for Democratic House candidates. Among the 41 percent of voters who said the issue of “corruption/ethics” was “extremely important,” Democrats won a 6038 majority. Republicans received narrow majorities from the 30 percent of voters who believed illegal immigration was “extremely important” (52-46) and from the 32 percent of voters who believed illegal immigration was “very important” (50-49).
Pundits and analysts heralded the role that so-called “values voters” played in the 2004 elections. This year, Republican House candidates won a 58-40 majority among the 36 percent of the electorate who said “values issues” were “extremely important.” But Democrats won increasingly larger majorities among the other three groups on the values question. Those who said values issues were “very important” (21 percent of all voters) supported Democrats 51-47; those who said values issues were “somewhat important” (20 percent of voters) gave Democrats a 6137 majority; and the 22 percent of voters who said values issues were “not at all important” voted for Democrats by a 69-29 margin. Seventy percent of white evangelical or bornagain voters (24 percent of the electorate) supported Republicans, while the remaining three-fourths of the electorate voted for Democrats by a 61-37 margin. Republicans narrowly won (50-48) the two-thirds of voters who are married but heavily lost the singles’ vote (64-34). Homosexuals (3 percent of the electorate) supported Democrats, 75-24.
Interestingly, Democrats won 60 percent of the votes from the 36 percent who thought Iraq was “extremely important,” while Republicans won 52 percent of the vote from the 32 percent who said Iraq was “very important.” Not surprisingly, those who approved of the war in Iraq (42 percent of voters) supported Republican candidates by an 81-18 margin. In a nearly perfect mirror image, those who disapproved of the war (56 percent of the electorate) supported Democrats by an 80-18 margin.