And This Too Shall Pass
Yesterday we had an election, and this morning you will see either jubilation or despair on social media. It’s easy to be apathetic, but the American people have spoken demonstrating that the American experiment continues to work some 238 years after its beginning. This is what they have said.
8 in 10 Americans disapprove of how Congress is handling its job. Nearly 6 in 10 voters are either dissatisfied or angry with both the White House and Republican leaders in Congress. Most voters have a negative view of both parties, with the Democratic Party pulling a positive view from 44% of voters compared to 40% for the Republican Party. 40% of voters identify themselves as neither liberal nor conservative. 36% of Americans calling themselves conservatives while only 24% call themselves liberal. 54% of voters said that the government was doing too many things better left to people and business, while 41% indicated that the government should do more to solve problems. Only 1 in 5 voters say they trust the government to do the right thing.
Yet Everyone Loves Their Politician
Conservatives supported Republican House candidates by 85 to 13%; liberals supported Democrats by 87 to 11%, and moderates voted 44% for GOP House candidates and 53% for Democratic ones. 92% of Democrats voted for their party’s candidates in House contests and 94% of Republicans voted for theirs. Independents, 28% of voters, voted for Republican candidates in House contests over Democrats, 54 to 42%. Democrats and Republicans were both 36% of all voters. Note the difference between a moderate and an independent.
32% of voters said they supported the Tea Party (13% strongly), 28% were neutral about it, and 36% opposed it (26% strongly). However, two-thirds of voters said they believe the country is headed on the wrong track, and only 22% believe the next generation of Americans will be better off. We wrote about the death of the Tea Party, and while that looks to be the case electorally, they have certainly influenced the conversation.
7 in 10 Americans said they were concerned about economic conditions, and 45% of voters said the economy was the most important issue facing the country. 78% were worried about its direction in the next year. 70% said it was not so good or poor. Only 1% checked the box that said the economy’s condition was “excellent.”
25% said the 2010 law did not go far enough, 21% said it was about right, and 48% that it went too far. Obamacare was not an issue in these midterms which I felt hurt Democrats.
55% of voters who chose foreign policy as the most important issue facing the country voted for Republican candidates: about 4 in 10 of them voted for Democrats. The issue ranked behind the economy and health care as the top issue and tied with immigration. 72% are at least somewhat worried that there could be a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. A majority of Americans surveyed Tuesday support airstrikes against the militant group in Iraq and Syria. 58% of voters in House races approved of the US military action against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
About half the electorate said they believe illegal immigrants should get an opportunity to gain legal status in the U.S, while about 37% of voters said they want all illegal immigrants deported. I believe immigration and particularly amnesty is an issue that has enough Republicans behind it to get passed in some form.
6 in 10 Americans said they followed news about Ebola, and only about 44% of Americans believe the federal government has done a good job combating the disease. We have chronicled how ridiculous the fear of Ebola is.
The midterm electorate is evenly split on the issue of same-sex marriage. On Election Day, 63% of voters indicated they were married. They voted 58 to 41% for Republican candidates in House races.
23% of voters this year said it should be legal in all cases, 29% legal in most cases, 26% illegal in most cases, and 17% illegal in all cases. Voters’ views were similar to those of the public. In a September Pew national poll, those responses were 22%, 34%, 26%, and 14%, respectively.
Race and Ethnicity
We talked about the demographics of the midterms, and particularly the need for the Democratic Party to turnout women, black, and latino voters. They were largely unsuccessful.
Latinos made up, for the first time, 11% of all eligible voters nationwide. However, only 8% of the electorate was Latino and around 60% voted for Democrats.
In every House contest since 1972, more than 8 in 10 African-Americans have voted for Democratic candidates. In 2012, the turnout rate of all eligible African-Americans was higher than that for all white Americans (67% and 64%, respectively). This year, blacks were 12% of voters, and nearly 90% voted for Democrats in House contests. Jews were 3% of voters on Election Day and voted 65 to 33 in favor of Democratic candidates.
In this year’s exit poll, a plurality of voters. 40%. said race relations in the country had stayed about the same in the last few years. More of the rest said they had gotten worse (38%) and not better (20%). Someone will have to explain to me how race relations have gotten worse.
18% of voters said they never attend religious services. In House contests, they voted around 62% for Democrats. Nearly six in ten voters attending religious services more than once a week or once a week voted for GOP candidates.
In a pre-election poll of 18-29 year olds by Harvard’s Institute of Politics, young “definite” voters said they preferred a Congress controlled by Republicans over one controlled by Democrats by 51% to 47%. In the exit poll, 54% indicated that they pulled the proverbial voting lever for Democratic House candidates; 43% for Republican ones.
Voters who checked the box saying they had done postgraduate study were 20% of all voters. They continued their recent pattern of voting for Democratic candidates, 53 to 44%.
The “some college” group has a good track record of voting for the winner in presidential contests. The group is large (29% of voters this year), about the same size as the college grad vote (30%). The some college group voted for Republican candidates in House races, 53 to 45%.
17% of voters said in union households. 38% voted for GOP candidates and 59% Democratic ones. We wrote about the importance of unions on Labor Day.
45% said he wasn’t a reason, but of the rest, more (33%) said their vote was to express opposition to him than to express support (19%). We wrote about the lawsuit that never was initiated by Republicans to placate their base for they were never going to invoke the nuclear option.
On Election Day, voters with total family incomes of $200,000 or more (the top category in the exit poll) voted for GOP candidates over Democrats, by 56 to 43%. They were 7% of all voters. Ironically, this was the 1% of the people who thought the economy was in excellent condition.
What We Know
The rich voted Republican. People came out to vote against Obama. Union strength is waning though they still support Democrats. Those with college and graduate school degrees continue to vote Democrat while those who do not vote Republican. The young are more inclined to vote Republican though they still vote Democrat. The religious vote Republican, and outnumber those who are not religious whom vote Democrat. Blacks, Latinos and Jews tend to vote Democrat; however, less Latinos voted and the GOP was able to gain share with that demographic as well. Abortion and same-sex marriage are pretty evenly split. Of the top issues, Obamacare and immigration are also pretty evenly split but the economy and foreign policy trended Republican in this election.
And This Too Shall Pass
Congratulations to the Republican Party for holding the House and taking the Senate. While the result may not be what some of us wanted, let us remind ourselves of how great our nation is, and how tonight is a testament to the will of the people and the beauty of our constitutional republic. There is another election in 2 years. There will be another 2 years after that, and still another 2 years after that. For those of you whom are disappointed, and this too shall pass.