Exit polling

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

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.

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