2010 Elections Exit Poll Analysis: The Political Price of Economic Pain

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IMMIGRATION: Fiorina took a hard line on immigration -- backing the law passed in Arizona -- and it may have been a tough sell in California. Overall, 67 percent of voters said illegal immigrants working in the United States should be offered a chance to apply for legal status. She also wasn't able to convince voters that she could translate her business success into creating jobs for Californians.

VIEWS OF DEMOCRATS: California's electorate is comparatively Democrat-friendly: 50 percent have a favorable view of the Democratic Party (higher than their nationwide approval, at 43 percent), while just 33 percent view the Republican Party favorably.

COLORADO

OBAMA: Obama carried Colorado with 53 percent of the vote in 2008; fewer voters Tuesday, 47 percent, approved of the job he is doing as president. Among those who disapprove, Republican Ken Buck won by 81 percent to 12 percent. But his Democratic opponent Michael Bennet won by an even broader margin, 90-7 percent among the 47 percent who approved of Obama's performance.

TEA PARTY: Tea Party sympathizers made up 41 percent of the electorate and voted 87 percent to 10 percent for Buck, a Tea Party favorite. But among the slightly more than a third (35 percent) who did not sympathize with the Tea Party movement, Bennet won by 93-3 percent.

OUTSIDER: Forty-five percent of voters here preferred "an outsider who wants to shake things up"; they voted 66 percent to 28 percent for Buck. But Bennet countered Buck's strength among the 43 percent who favored a political "insider who knows how to get things done," winning 66 percent of their votes.

WHITE EVANGELICALS: White evangelicals made up 20 percent of the electorate and voted 76-18 for Buck, who has called for "a closer relationship" between church and state.

COLLEGE GRADUATES: Two-thirds of the Colorado electorate has a college degree (67 percent) and these voters supported Bennet over Buck, 53-43 percent.

CONNECTICUT

DEMOCRATS: Bucking the national trend, Democrats turned out as strongly as in previous years in Connecticut, accounting for 40 percent of voters (compared with 38 percent in the 2006 midterms), helping Richard Blumenthal to his against-the-grain victory.

WOMEN: Running against a woman candidate, Blumenthal won women by a vast 60 to 39 percent.

ECONOMY: While 89 percent were worried about the economy, unlike elsewhere they didn't take it out on the Democrat; he won these voters by 54 to 45 percent.

WRESTLING: Forty percent said Linda McMahon's background with professional wrestling made them less likely to vote for her, and Blumenthal won them handily, by 86-12 percent. Of the rest, 48 percent said wrestling had no effect, but among those voters, many fewer, 57 percent backed McMahon. (Twelve percent said that wrestling made them more likely to vote for her.)

ATTACK: Voters thought both candidates attacked the other unfairly, but more thought McMahon attacked Blumenthal unfairly (69 percent) than vice versa (58 percent).

HONESTY: Blumenthal was viewed by 61 percent of voters as being "honest and trustworthy," despite having exaggerated his military record.

TEA PARTY: Opposition to the Tea Party in Connecticut was high compared to the national exit poll -- 43 percent oppose the movement in CT compared to 31 percent nationwide.

OBAMA: And again unlike the country overall, more Connecticut voters said they approve of the president's job performance than disapprove, 55 to 45 percent.

KENTUCKY

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