What Was — and Wasn’t on the Public’s Mind
Once again, public opinion played a major role in the most important news stories of the year. Some of the strongest 2006 trends in public opinion carried over from previous years — notably growing concern about the Iraq war and mounting dissatisfaction with the performance of the Republican-controlled Congress.
Civil War: What’s in a Name?
A mostly insiders-only debate about whether Iraq is in a state of civil war broke out into the open last week when two major news organizations announced that they would henceforth refer to the conflict as a civil war. According to polling in September by the Pew Research Center, much of the public had already reached that conclusion.
Election ’06: Big Changes in Some Key Groups
In the aftermath of the 2006 election, the shifting allegiance of some important voter groups has gotten relatively little attention. One of the biggest stories is about young people. Another is what really happened to “The God Gap.” And a third is about the one-fifth of voters who aren’t white.
The Real Message of the Midterms
A sweeping election tends to invite sweeping conclusions — and the Democrats’ takeover of both houses of Congress this November provides a tempting array of opportunities for exaggeration or misinterpretation. With that in mind, let’s look at the major lessons to be gleaned from the exit polls and opinion polls about how America voted this November.
Centrists Deliver for Democrats
The key to the strong Democratic showing yesterday was the support their candidates drew from moderate and independent voters, an analysis of the exit polls shows. With more than nine-in-ten Republicans and Democrats casting ballots for representatives of their parties, just as they did two years ago, the Democrats’ 57%-39% advantage among independents proved crucial.
Democrats and Republicans See Different Realities
The vast divide between voters who intend to vote Democratic and Republican on November 7 extends well beyond matters of opinion. These voters also see the world quite differently.
Public Concern About the Vote Count and Uncertainty About Electronic Voting Machines
Public doubts about the accuracy of the vote count may have some significant consequences on election day. The problem is much on the minds of some political operatives who worry that it may discourage voting among some constituencies.
Karl Rove’s Ground War Challenge
In an election environment which seems to favor the Democrats in so many ways, the Republicans continue to hold two strong cards; they have more money and they are better at getting out the vote than are the Democrats.
Cell-Only Voters Not Very Different
Political pollsters continue to cast a wary eye on the growing number of Americans who use only a cell phone and have no landline. The Pew Research Center estimates that this group now constitutes one-in-ten adults. But three Pew surveys of cell-only Americans this year have found that their absence from landline surveys is not creating a measurable bias in the bottom-line findings.
Can Safe Seats Save the Republicans?
One of the biggest political questions in the final weeks of this Congressional campaign is whether the national trend in support for Democratic candidates is big enough to overcome the safe-seat redistricting that in recent years has led to fewer and fewer seats turning over in Congress.