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


IDEOLOGY: Conservative voters turned out in proportionally greater numbers than in past elections, comprising 40 percent of the electorate, up from 35 percent in 2008 and 34 percent when this seat was last contested in 2004. Eighty-one percent of conservatives voted for Rubio; he narrowly trailed Crist among moderates.

MORE OBAMA: More voters cast ballots to express opposition to Obama than to express support for him, 34 percent vs. 24 percent. (An additional 40 percent said the president was not a factor.) Rubio won 87 percent of the votes of Obama critics while splitting the vote with Crist among those who said Obama was no factor.

WHAT IF: Even without Crist in the race, Rubio likely would have won. He beat Meek 52-35 percent in a hypothetical matchup between the two.

FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Democrat Alex Sink won nearly nine in ten votes (89 percent) of her party's vote, but Republican Rick Scott matched her by claiming 88 percent of all GOP voters ?and 52 percent of independents. Democrats made up 36 percent of the electorate, Republicans 35 percent and independents 29 percent.

Scott had headed a health care company that was fined $1.7 billion for defrauding the government, and 46 percent of his voters had reservations about him; by contrast just 26 percent of Sink's voters had reservations about her. No winner was projected in this race by early Wednesday.


INDIES: Ted Strickland, an incumbent Democratic governor in a Republican year, lost ground among several key groups, none more important than independents. Four years ago Strickland racked up a whopping 69 percent of the independent vote. This year, John Kasich won this group by double digits, 52 percent to 39 percent.

WORKING-CLASS: Kasich led Strickland by 52 to 40 percent among working-class white voters (those in households making less than $50,000 per year), a group Strickland won last time and Obama managed to win narrowly in 2008. Strickland also underperformed compared to his last race among higher-income and older voters, who made up a larger share of the electorate this year than when he last ran.

ECONOMY: The economy was the dominant issue in Ohio. Sixty-three percent called it the most important issue in their vote, and they went for Kasich (51 percent vs. 45 percent).

UNION: Union turnout, important for Democrats in Ohio, looked to be down somewhat: Members of union households accounted for 23 percent of voters in preliminary exit poll results, vs. 28 percent in 2006, when Democratic Governor Ted Strickland won the seat he's now defending.

OBAMA: Kasich tried to tie Strickland to Obama, wisely: Fifty-four percent of Ohio voters said they disapprove of the job Obama's doing as president, with strong disapprovers outnumbering strong approvers 41 percent to 25 percent.

IDEOLOGY: Kasich also benefited from an increase in the proportion of voters calling themselves conservatives, up from 32 percent in 2006 to 41 percent now. Conservatives voted for Kasich by 78-19 percent.


It was a close Senate race in Pennsylvania. Here's how Republican Pat Toomey ultimately gained the edge over Joe Sestak:

OBAMA: Those who approve of Barack Obama favored Sestak by 90-10 percent; those who disapproved of Obama favored Toomey by 87-13 -- but disapprovers slightly outnumbered approvers (53-47 percent).

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