EXIT POLLS: Storm of Voter Dissatisfaction Lifts Obama to an Historic Win
Battered Economy, Partisan Shift in Power and Promise of Change Lift Obama to Victory
Nov. 5, 2008
Analysis by Gary Langer, Rich Morin, Brian Hartman, Peyton Craighill, Claudia Deane, Mollyann Brodie, Patrick Moynihan, Bob Shapiro and Scott Clement.
Barack Obama rode a storm of voter dissatisfaction to his history-making victory, lifted to office as the first African-American president by the battered economy, a generational and partisan shift in political power and the resonance of his promise of change.
The coalition of voters that supported Obama reflected the diversity of America. Sixty-one percent of his supporters were white, 23 percent black and 11 percent Hispanic. In contrast, 90 percent of John McCain's supporters were white.
Young voters, while not turning out in disproportionate numbers, overwhelmingly supported Obama, 66-32 percent, smashing the previous records for this group ??? a 19-point margin for Bill Clinton in 1991 and a 19-point margin for Ronald Reagan in 1984.
The election marked a reversal of the Reagan revolution. His presidency heralded a generation of close division in political partisanship, shrinking a 15-point advantage in Democratic turnout in 1980 to 2 points in 1984 and, for the first time, parity in 2004. This year, in a dramatic turnaround, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 7 points, 39 percent to 32 percent ??? the fewest Republicans in 28 years.
The shift in individual states was equally remarkable ??? in Ohio a 15-point swing toward the Democrats in turnout, in North Carolina 12 points, in Virginia 11, in Nevada 10, in Indiana and New Mexico 9.
Part of that shift stemmed from the deeply unpopular president (71 percent disapproved of George W. Bush's job performance; even in Utah, the nation's most Republican state, 51 percent disapproved) and the broadly unpopular Iraq war (63 percent disapproved). But almost exclusively this election was about the economy and the angst of recession.
-Sixty-three percent said the economy was the biggest problem facing the county; the next no closest was Iraq at 10 percent.
-Eighty-one percent were worried about their family's finances ??? 48 percent, "very" worried. Two-thirds said they were worried about being able to afford health care.
-Three-quarters of voters said the country was seriously off on the wrong track ??? vastly up from 46 percent in 2004 and 31 percent in 2000.
-Forty-two percent of voters said their family's financial situation is worse than it was four years ago ??? the most since it first was asked in exit polls in 1992.
Obama capitalized on these anxieties, taking advantage of the theme of "change" he first wielded against Hillary Clinton in the primaries, then turned against Bush, McCain, and ultimately the economic crisis in the general election.
Obama won 62 percent of voters who said the country's off on the wrong track. He won by 53-44 percent among voters who said the economy was their top concern. And he won "worse off" voters by 70-28 percent.
McCain won voters who were "better off" and those who were in the same shape financially now as four years ago; it was financially hurting voters who made Obama president.
Despite portraying himself as a "maverick," McCain never could separate himself from Bush: Voters were evenly divided (48-48 percent) when asked if they thought McCain would continue Bush's policies or move the country in a different direction. Nor was McCain helped by Sarah Palin: Sixty percent saw her as unqualified to be president.
Even among his supporters, enthusiasm for McCain was tepid, as it had been all through the campaign. Just 28 percent of McCain voters were "excited" about the prospect of his becoming president. By contrast, twice as many Obama supporters, 56 percent, were excited about the prospect of an Obama presidency.
First-time voters ??? disproportionately under 30 ??? accounted for 11 percent of the turnout, no more than in 2004, but different in their vote preference: Four years ago first-timers backed John Kerry by 7 points; Tuesday, Obama by 39.
There was a broad gender gap, with men dividing 49-48 percent between the candidates, while women favored Obama by 13 points, 56-43 percent. At the same time it was men and women alike ??? indeed slightly more men ??? who were responsible for the sharp shift in partisanship.
Young voters, minority voters and women were central to Obama's win. He won 95 percent of blacks and 67 percent of Hispanics, 14 points more than John Kerry won in 2004. He lost whites by 12 points; Kerry lost them by 17, Al Gore by 12 as well.
A difference this time: There were fewer whites to win or lose. For the first time whites accounted for fewer than three-quarters of voters, 74 percent ??? down steadily from 90 percent in 1976. Blacks accounted for 13 percent, up slightly from 11 percent in 2004 to a new high. Hispanics were 9 percent of voters, up a point from '04.
Obama won independents by 52-44 percent, maintaining their swing-voter staus; he also won 83 percent of Clinton Democrats ??? and 17 percent of Bush voters from 2004.
At the state level, Obama became the first Democrat to win a majority of Hispanics in Florida since exit polls began tracking voter demographics. He became the first Democrat to win Virginia in 44 years; by coincidence it was another Arizona Senator, Barry Goldwater, who fell in 1964 to Democrat Lyndon Johnson.
Race was perhaps a surprisingly minor factor. Nineteen percent of all voters called it at least somewhat of a factor in their vote; 80 percent said it was not a factor at all. But Obama's margin was essentially the same among those who called race a factor ??? 53-45 percent ??? and those who said it was not, 51-46 percent.
There were, however, differences by race. Seventeen percent of whites called race a factor, and favored McCain by 61-37 percent. Whites for whom race was not a factor voted for McCain by a narrower 53-44 percent. Meanwhile one in three blacks called race a factor in their vote, and, like all blacks, favored Obama almost unanimously.
Age by contrast, was a bigger issue: Twice as many overall, 39 percent, called the age of the candidates a factor in their vote. And they favored Obama by 2-1, 66-32 percent.
A final result makes the election look, if not pre-ordained, at least long locked in. Sixty percent of voters said they'd made up their minds before last September; 74 percent, in September or earlier. They voted for Obama over McCain, 53-46 percent.
A state-by-state analysis of results in some key states follows.
Bush: Seventy-two percent disapproved of Bush's performance as president and 68 percent of these voters supported Obama. Among the 27 percent who approved of Bush, 90 percent voted for McCain.
Race: Twenty-seven percent of voters in Virginia said the race was at least a minor factor in determining their vote. Among those who said race was a factor, 95 percent of blacks voted for Obama while whites supported McCain 61-38 percent.
Working Class: Working class voters--those with annual family incomes under $50,000--voted 62 percent to 37 percent for Obama. But white working class voters voted 57 percent to 42 percent for McCain, little different from whites overall. Working class voters comprised about 30 of all voters in Virginia.
Change: About a third of voters said they most wanted a candidate who could bring about needed change (35 percent) or shared their values (32 percent). Obama won 92 percent of the vote of those who wanted change, while 65 percent of those who wanted a candidate who shared their values voted for McCain.
(Note: In the past a reliably Republican state, the race in Indiana this year was too close to call through election night.)
Independents: If Obama manages to pull out an upset victory here, it will be in part thanks to a solid showing among independents, a group that has gone Republican in the past three elections but was tilting to Obama 54 percent to 43 percent. He also racked up a nearly 30 point margin among young voters in Indiana, unprecedented in a state where this age group has gone Republican in four of the past five elections.
Working Class: The race is also competitive thanks to working class white voters, a group that many speculated would not look kindly on Obama. Exit polls suggest Obama pulled to a tie among this group, after losing this group by double digits in the previous five elections. In terms of GOTV efforts, the polls give evidence of the Democrats' unusual effort this year in Indiana: 37 percent of voters say they have been contacted by the Obama campaign, compared to 22 percent who had been contacted by the McCain campaign.
Party ID: Despite all the factors which contributed to a close race, Republican voters still outnumber Democrats at the polls 41 percent to 36 percent, and 46 percent of voters say Obama is too liberal. And the Republican base turned out in Indiana: white evangelical Christians made up 43 percent of the electorate, up from 35 percent in 2004.
Economy: Nine in ten in this heavily industrial state give the current economy bad ratings, and just as many worry about direction of economy over next year. As was true nationally, the economy dominated the list of voting issues. Among those voters, Obama had a narrow lead in Indiana ??? 52 percent to 47 percent for McCain.
Working Class: White voters who earn less than $50,000 a year were a weak group for Obama in the Democratic primary, but he turned them around in the general election. They made up 34 percent of the vote -- their smallest recorded proportion since the exit polls began measuring this in 1984 and they voted for Obama over McCain 51-47 percent.
Party ID: In 2004, 40 percent of voters identified themselves as Republicans. This year -- that dropped to 31 percent. It was the lowest Republican turnout on record in the state of Ohio. And Obama won the 30 percent of independents, that critical swing group, by a 52-44 percent margin.
Economy: With at least half a million residents out of work, the state's highest unemployment rate in 16 years, six in 10 voters named the economy as their top issue. Obama won them 54-45 percent. More than half (56 percent) said they are very worried about the direction of the economy and Obama won them by an even wider margin -- 60-39 percent. Whites who cite the economy as their top issue split narrowly between Obama and McCain - moving him to the best showing among whites in Ohio for a Democrat since 1996.
Hillary Clinton: Hillary Clinton won by a wide margin in the Democratic primary. Democrats who voted for Clinton made up 16 percent of the entire vote in Ohio in tonight's vote and they came home to Obama, voting for him 81 percent to McCain's 18 percent.
Young Voters: Obama is competitive in this traditionally Republican state due to extraordinary levels of support from young voters. Obama wins those under 30 by nearly 3-1, 74 to 26 percent, among the largest margin for Obama among young voters in any state. McCain comes back among voters age 30 and over, winning 54 to 44 percent.
Black Voters: Turnout among African-Americans, at 23 percent, was down from its peak of 26 percent in 2004, but they more clearly favored Obama this time, by 95 to 5 percent, than they did for Kerry over Bush in 2004, 85 to 14 percent.
Gender: The gender gap kept the race close here too. McCain won among men by 56 to 43 percent. And Obama won women by about the same margin, 55 to 44 percent.
Party ID: The shift in partisanship was crucial to keeping this state competitive. Republican turnout has declined sharply since 2004 from 40 percent of voters to 31 percent this year, the lowest GOP identification in exit polls back to 1988. Forty-two percent of voters called themselves Democrats, up a slight 3 points, but that 11 point advantage over Republicans in turnout keeps the state in play. Independents favored McCain by 60 to 39 percent.
Get Out The Vote: Obama's great efforts reaching voters paid off too. Thirty-four percent of voters reported contact from the Obama campaign and they voted 66 to 33 percent for him. Fewer, 26 percent, said they were contacted by the McCain campaign. They voted 58 to 41 in favor of McCain.
Tone: The tone of the campaign damaged McCain more than Obama. Two-thirds of voters said McCain attacked Obama unfairly. Half said that of Obama.
Change: The desire for a candidate to bring change was equaled by someone who shares their values. About three in 10 called these the most important qualities in a candidate. Change voters went largely to Obama, by 88 to 11 percent. Values voters went to McCain by 71 to 29 percent.
Evangelicals: The evangelical vote and the role of values were important to keeping the race close. Over four in 10 voters were white evangelicals and they were one of McCain's best groups. He won them by 3-1, 74 to 25 percent. Among white evangelicals, 36 percent said they were looking for a candidate who shared their values.
Hispanics: Obama won 57 percent of the Hispanic vote, a remarkable feat given that no Democrat has won a majority of Hispanics here going back at least to 1992. Hispanics this year made up 14 percent of the electorate, about the same as in 2004. As a broad group, they split just about evenly in 2000.
Age: Voters younger than 30 made up 15 percent of the electorate, about the proportion they were four years ago. Those aged 65 and older made up 22 percent of the vote, up 4 points from four years ago. Obama won 61 percent of young voters, McCain won 53 percent of older voters.
In Touch: More than half -- 57 percent -- said Obama seems more in touch with people like them; only 44 percent said so of McCain.
Fairness: More than six in 10--64 percent--say McCain attacked Obama unfairly; 48 percent said Obama attacked McCain unfairly.
Experience: While six in 10 voters said McCain has the experience to serve as president, just about half said this about Obama.
Black Voters: Ninety-six percent of blacks voted for Obama, the largest percentage to vote Democratic going back to 1988. Blacks were 13 percent of all voters, essentially unchanged from 2004.
Race: Pennsylvania was supposed to be the state where race mattered, but in the end, the exit polls suggest the issue was a wash.
Rural: Though Obama lost in the rural areas that were a focus of so much discussion, he did somewhat better there than Democrat John Kerry did (44 percent to Kerry's 39 percent), while holding on to half of the suburban vote and winning three to one in urban areas. He also held on to half of white working class voters, similar to Kerry.
Race: Overall, 16 percent in PA said that race was an important factor in their vote, with African American voters more likely than whites to say so (30 percent of blacks say was important, 14 percent of whites). Whites who said race was a factor in their decision went for McCain 56-43.
Independents: Obama did well among key political independents ??? winning by 18 percentage points. He also held nine in 10 Democrats ??? somewhat better than Kerry, Gore or Clinton.
Time of Decision: McCain's heavy investment in the state in the final few days of the race did make a difference ??? he actually won among the roughly one in ten voters who made up their minds in the final three days by 54 to 44. But it wasn't enough to make up for Obama's early and dominant lead in the state: among those who decided before the final weekend, Obama led 57-42
Clinton: Hillary Clinton was a popular figure in Pennsylvania, and some wondered if Obama would be able to keep the Clinton vote. He did-- eight in ten Clinton voters stayed with Obama.
Economy: Nine in ten voters in PA say they are worried about the direction of the nation's economy. Obama wins 63 percent of the vote among the 57 percent - a remarkable number - who are "very worried." The economy easily eclipses all other issues in PA ??? 57 percent name as top issue. Obama wins these voters 58 to 41.
Bush Approval: 74 percent of PA voters disapprove of the job Bush is doing as president??? Obama wins them decisively (71 ??? 27). And more than half of voters (53 percent) say McCain would be a continuation of Bush's policies.
Voter Contact: The Obama campaign had contacted half of all voters at the polls (50 percent), well over the 39 percent who say they were contacted by McCain. Obama got more of the people he talked to, as well: 71 percent of those who heard from Obama voted for him, compared to the 57 percent contacted by McCain who backed him.
Independents: They broke strongly for Obama 59 percent to 39 for McCain, by fully 20 points, compared to the 14 points that Kerry won them by in 2004. They made up about the same proportion of the electorate in 2008 as in 2004, 45 percent.
Party ID: Democrats outnumbered Republicans 29 percent to 27 percent, the opposite of 2004 when Republicans outnumbered Democrats 32 to 25 percent. Both partisan groups voted for their party's candidate at about 90 percent.
Clinton: Eleven percent of voters were Democrats who wanted Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination, and they voted overwhelmingly for Obama, 84 percent to 15 percent for McCain.
Women: Obama won women by 23 points; Kerry carried them by only 9 points and the percentage of voters who were women increased from 49 percent to 52 percent.
Iraq: Sixty-six percent disapproved of the Iraq war, with 44 percent strongly disapproving. This strongly disapproving group vote near unanimously for Obama 88 percent to 11 percent for McCain.
Education: Voters with post graduate education were 23 percent of voters and Obama won this group by 37 points, 68 percent to 31 percent. Kerry had won beaten Bush among these voters by 25 points.
Youth: Young adults age 18-29, 18 percent of voters, were Obama's strongest age group, going to Obama by 24 points, 61-37.
Get Out The Vote: Fifty-one percent of voters were personally contacted by the Obama campaign and they voted 64-34 percent for Obama. In contrast, 34 percent were contacted by McCain representatives and they voted 51-48 percent for the Republican.
Economy: Eighty-four percent of the voters said they were worried about the direction of the nation's economy and 49 percent said they were "very worried." Those most concerned broke 60-39 percent for Obama. Party Identification: Thirty-one percent of voters identified themselves as Republicans, their lowest level since at least 1992 and down 7 points since 2004, while independents reached their highest level since then, 39 percent of all voters, up 6 points since '04. Independents went +10 points for Obama, 54-44 percent. Evangelicals: Twenty-one percent of voters were evangelical, white Christians -- and they went for McCain by over 3-1, 76-23 percent. But the other 79 percent of voters went for Obama by 24 points, 61-37 percent. Race and Gender: Obama edged McCain among whites, 50-48 percent -- the first time a Democrat has won whites in the state since at least 1992. Obama narrowly lost white men, 48-50 percent (a group Bush had won by margins of 19 and 27 points in the past two elections), but the Democrat won among white women, 52-46 percent (who Bush had won by 11 and 12 points in 2004 and 2000, respectively). Race as a Factor: Eighteen percent of whites said race was a factor in their vote, and they broke for Obama by 18 points, 58-40 percent. Whites who said race was not a factor were a narrower 50-48 percent Obama-McCain. War in Iraq: Fifty-nine percent of voters disapprove of the war in Iraq, and they went strongly for Obama, 81-17 percent. Among the 41 percent who approve of the war, McCain won by a wider 90-9 percent.
Hispanic: New Mexico stands out as having a larger share of Hispanic voters than any other state in the nation. Forty-one percent of voters were Hispanic, up from 32 percent in 2004. And Obama won them 69-30 percent, a much larger advantage (39 points) than Kerry's 12 point gap in 2004, and more like Gore's 34 point lead over Bush in 2000. One in five Hispanic voters in New Mexico said race was an important factor and they voted for Obama 72 percent to McCain's 27 percent. Hispanic voters were predominantly young -- 30 percent aged 18-29 -- and they voted 83-15 percent for Obama. All the more remarkable given that Obama lost them to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary back in February.
Party ID: The Republican Party lost strength in this election. Forty-four percent of voters call themselves Democrats ??? up from 40 percent in 2004. But Republican party identification has dropped off from 33 percent to 28 percent. That's the smallest recorded GOP share of the since the exit polls started asking the question in 1988. Independents voted for Obama 56-41.
Ethanol: Sixty-seven percent of voters supported government subsidies for ethanol, something opposed by John McCain. Obama won these voters 56 to 42 percent. McCain won 51 percent to 45 percent among the 25 percent of voters who opposed the subsidies.
Ground Game: Iowa's caucuses helped launch Obama's candidacy and his campaign has never left the state. They drew more people into the process -- nine percent were first-time voters and they went overwhelmingly for Obama 67 percent to 32 percent. And they ran the more effective get-out-the-vote campaign. Voters contacted by the Obama campaign cast their votes for him 68-30 percent, compared to McCain's 15 point edge among voters his campaign contacted, 58-40 percent. Forty-one percent of voters were contacted by the Obama campaign compared to 30 percent by the McCain campaign.
Religion: McCain carried born again white evangelicals, 31 percent of the vote, by about the same margin as George Bush in 2004. But Obama won all others by 26 points and these made up twice as many voters. White Catholics, a quarter of the electorate, voted for Obama to 57-42 percent for McCain, better than Kerry's 5-point edge, 52 to 47 percent in 2004.
Women: Obama won women voters by 12 points, a much greater margin than Kerry's 2 point edge in 2004.
Independents: They broke decisively for Obama -- 56 percent to 41 percent for McCain, by 15 points, Kerry had taken them by 9 points in 2004.
Economy: Like the across the nation as a whole, 63 percent in Nevada say the economy is the top issue and they went for Obama by 22 points, 60-38.
Hispanics: Fifteen percent of voters were Hispanic, up from 10 percent in 2004 and they voted for Obama 76-22 percent. Obama lost this key group in the Democratic caucus and McCain's work on immigration offered him some opportunities. But as they did in other heavily Hispanic states, they went big for Obama.
Independents: Obama was also helped by a larger share of voters calling themselves Independents ??? 32 percent - more than they've been back to 1988. Independents went for Obama over McCain by 13 percentage points, 54-41. Further, the share of Republican voters is at a new low ??? 30 percent, while Democrats were at 38 percent.
Voter Contact: Nevada voters reported a huge gap in contacts by the two campaigns: 29 percent were contacted by McCain campaign, compared to 50 percent by Obama's. Obama not only has more contacts but does better with them - he wins 66-33 among his, while McCain wins 55-44 among his.
MISSOURI (NO PROJECTED WINNER)
Race: Blacks made up 13 percent of voters, their highest share in the state since at least 1988 and up 5 points since 2004. They voted 93-7 percent Obama-McCain. Whites were 82 percent of voters -- their lowest share since at least 1988 and down 7 points from 2004 -- and they went 57-42 percent McCain-Obama. Thirty-one percent of whites said race was a factor in their vote, and they went 62-37 McCain-Obama; among the 68 percent of whites who said race wasn't a factor, McCain's margin was narrower, 55-44.
Evangelicals: White evangelical Christians were 39 percent of voters and were solidly behind McCain, 70-29 percent. In 2004, however, Bush won evangelicals by a wider, 75-24 percent.
Working-class Whites: Whites making under $50K were 35 percent of the vote, down 6 points since 2004, and they slightly favored McCain, 51-47 percent. They have been a swing group in the state, having gone with the winner in each of the previous five presidential elections.
Party: Democrats were 40 percent of vote, up 5 points since 2004. Republicans, at 34 percent, were down 2 points since 2004. Both candidates took about nine in 10 of their own party's supporters. Political independents went to McCain, 51-45 percent.
Under 30s: Voters under the age of 30 were strongly in Obama's corner, 59-39 Obama-McCain. In contrast, Kerry won them by only 3 points in 2004.
Economy: Sixty-one percent of voters said the economy was the top issue, and they broke for Obama, 52-47 percent. Eleven percent called the Iraq was the most important issue and Obama did even better with those voters, +22 points, 60-38 percent. McCain made up ground among the 10 percent of voters who said terrorism was the most important issue, 91-8 percent McCain-Obama.
Change and Values: Thirty-three percent of voters wanted most a candidate who could bring change -- and Obama dominated among them, 90-9 percent. McCain came back among the 34 percent who said "shares my values" was most important, 71-27 percent, and even more so among the 19 percent looking most for experience, 98-2 percent.
Economy: fifty-seven percent of voters were very worried about the direction of the economy, and Obama was +13 among these voters; McCain did better, 59-40 percent, among the one in 10 who were not worried.
Gender: Obama was +7 points among men (53-46 percent), the first win among men for a Democrat since Clinton in 1992. Obama's +21 point edge among women (60-39 percent) was the largest margin since at least 1988.
Race: Obama won whites in the state, 54-45 percent. In comparison, Kerry lost them 47-52 percent in 2004.
Under 30s: Obama dominated among under 30s, 64-35 percent -- about double Kerry's margin in 2004 (57-41 percent).
Iraq: About six in 10 voters disapprove of the war in Iraq, and they were solidly behind Obama, 81-17 percent; strong disapprovers even more so, 88-10 percent in Obama's favor. Thirty-nine percent approve of the war, and they went 83-17 McCain-Obama.
Campaign Contact: Forty-two percent of voters were contacted by the Obama campaign and they went 61-38 percent for Obama. Nearly the same number, 39 percent, were contacted by McCain's campaign -- but they broke more narrowly, 52-47 percent, for McCain.
Evangelicals: Twenty-six percent of voters were white evangelical Christians, and they were squarely behind McCain, 64-35 percent. But among the other 74 percent of voters, it was Obama by a wide 64-34 percent margin.
Change and Values: Thirty-five percent of voters looked primarily for a candidate who could bring needed change and Obama dominated among them (90-10 percent). About as many, 33 percent, said they wanted most a candidate who shared their values, and McCain won among them but not by quite as much, 62-37 percent.
Economy: Sixty-one percent said the economy was the top issue, and these "economy" voters went 57-43 percent for Obama. Relatedly, 90 percent said they're worried about the direction of nation's economy and Obama did well among them, 58-41 percent.
Clinton Voters: Twenty-seven percent of West Virginia voters today were Democrats who had wanted Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. Clinton trounced Obama in the primaries here. But that was six months ago. And Obama was unable to bring about a third of them, who voted for McCain, back into the Democratic fold after Clinton lost the nomination.
Race: The electorate in West Virginia remains nearly all white -- 94 percent. Twenty-two percent of whites said race was an important factor in their vote and they broke for McCain 64 percent to 34 percent for Obama. Obama won white working class voters 51 percent to 47 percent for McCain, but he lost higher income whites, 35 percent to 64 percent.
White Evangelical Christians: This group continues to be a dominant force, making up 52 percent of voters, up from 48 percent in 2004. McCain won White Evangelicals by 34 points, 66 percent to 32 percent.
Union: Members of union households divided about evenly for Obama and McCain as they declined from 33 percent of the vote in 2004 to 25 percent today. McCain won non-union household voters 59 percent to 40 percent.
Race: Twenty-seven percent of whites said race was a factor in their vote, and they went 60-39 percent for McCain; 72 percent of whites said race was not a factor and they split 49-47 percent, McCain-Obama.
Obama in MT: Thirty-three percent said Obama personally campaigning in Montana was a factor in their vote, and they went 84-15 Obama-McCain; among the 66 percent who said it wasn't a factor, it was McCain by 67-29 percent.
Evangelicals: Thirty-two percent of voters were white evangelical Christians and they voted strongly for McCain, 75-23 percent. (In 2004, Bush won them by more, 59 points.) Among all other voters, 68 percent of the vote, it was Obama by 21 points, 59-38 percent -- better than Kerry's split with Bush, 48-49 percent, in 2004.
Party: Thirty-three percent of voters were Republicans, their lowest turnout since 1992. Independents went 53-41 percent McCain-Obama; they split 46-46 percent in 2004 between Kerry and Bush.
Gun owners: Seventy-five percent of voters have a gun in the home and they were 17 points in favor of McCain, 57-40 percent. Among those without a gun in the home, Obama had a wide margin, 70-28 percent.
Working-class whites: Obama had a 51-45 percent edge among whites making less than $50,000 a year. No Democrat had won them in exit polls dating back to 1992 (Clinton split them that year, 36-36 percent). Kerry lost working-class whites by 11 points in 2004.
Bush Approval: Among the 64 percent of voters who disapprove of Bush, Obama won by a wide margin, 71-25 percent; McCain dominated, however, among Bush approvers (37 percent of voters), 93-6 percent.
Bush Approval: Among the 64 percent of voters who disapprove of Bush, Obama won by a wide margin, 71-23 percent; McCain dominated, however, among Bush approvers (36 percent of voters), 91-7 percent.