A couple of interesting items from the 2010 exit polls (as if you haven’t heard enough election stuff…)
In the Florida Senate race, Charlie Crist may actually have a future as a Democrat. He got 19 percent of the black vote (versus 76 percent for Meek, and about what Crist got when he was elected governor,) 23 percent of the Latino vote (versus 55 percent for Marco Rubio,) he won the 18-24 vote, despite being the oldest of the three candidates (by one point with 37 percentm versus 36 percent for Rubio an d 27 percent for Meek), effectively tied Rubio 40-41 with the most educated voters, and got 42 percent of Democrats (versus 49 percent for Meek) and a pretty stunning 50 percent of self-described liberals, versus 39 percent for Meek. I can’t really explain the 10 percent of liberals who voted for Rubio, but there you go. Crist also won moderates, 38 percent to 36 percent for Rubio and 27 percent for Meek.
Not sure what that means for Charlie Ballgame’s future, but there it is.
On a national level, you can get your House exit polls here. Key findings: Democrats won self-described moderates by 55 percent, but clearly many more conservatives turned out. Dems also won voters with no high school education plus the most educated voters, those with post-grad degrees. Republicans won big with blue collar white voters, evangelicals and conservatives. Dems also won voters who were casting ballots for the first time.
Mother Jones has more on the demographics, including which groups shifted the most toward the GOP.
Another interesting shift: more gay voters moved into the Republican column. DADT disappointment, perhaps?
The economy was THE number one issue for voters (not repealing “Obamacare,” but nice try, GOP) and was picked as such by 62 percent of respondents, versus 19 percent for healthcare, 8 percent for illegal immigration and 7 percent who said Afghanistan.
Referendum on Obama? Not so much:
… just 22 percent said they voted to send a message in favor of the Tea Party movement, vs. 18 percent against it; 56 percent called the movement “not a factor” in their vote.
Though of that 22 percent:
For comparison, in an election likely to be seen as a referendum on the president, 24 percent said they voted to show support for Obama; 37 percent to oppose him. (An additional 37 percent said he wasn’t a factor.) George W. Bush was a similar drag on his party in 2006; then voters, by 36-22 percent, said they were casting their ballot to express opposition to Bush, rather than support for him.
An interesting challenge for the new Republican leadership of the House will be what to do with the Bush-era tax cuts — an issue on which voters today were divided. Thirty-nine percent of voters wanted these tax cuts continued for all Americans, but about as many, 37 percent, wanted them continued only for families with incomes under $250,000 a year. The rest, 15 percent favored letting them expire for all.
In case you’re counting, that’s 55 percent in total who oppose spending $4 trillion over ten years to permanently extend tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Ahem.
On spending versus cutting the deficit:
While 39 percent said the highest priority for Congress should be reducing the deficit, again about as many, 37 percent, said spending to create jobs should be the highest priority. The rest — many fewer — gave top priority to a third choice, cutting taxes.
There were sharp partisan differences here — among Democrats, 58 percent give priority to spending on jobs; among Republicans and independents, the plurality, 47 percent, favor action on the deficit. And 64 percent of Republicans would continue the tax cuts for all; 51 percent of Democrats, only for less-than $250,000 households. Independents, on this, divide about evenly.
What’s not in those exit polls? A majority, or even a plurality, who said their priority for the next Congress is rolling back Wall Street reform, which intriguingly enough, appears to be first on John Boehner’s agenda … after they piss off the teabaggies by raising the debt ceiling, of course…
So what to make of all this? If I’m the White House or Senate Democrats, or even the soon-to-be minority in the House, I take from it that they should let the Republicans get distracted with healthcare repeal, serving Wall Street by trying to scale back regulation of the banks, outsourcing or whatever else it is the Chamber’s secret donors sent them to Washington to do. Let them fight it out with their tea party recruits over whose agenda “the American people spoke” about. Democrats and the president should have just one message, and one message alone: we’re doing jobs today. Today, and every day.