Democrats Made Gains in All Regions of the Country
With roughly 95% of the votes tallied so far in House races across the country, the overall partisan breakdown is 52% for Democratic candidates, 46% for Republican candidates and 2% for others. In actual votes, Democratic House candidates in 2006 have already tallied nearly 5 million more votes than they did in 2002, while the Republican tally is down more than 3 million from four years ago.
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.
Democrats Score in Statehouses and Governors’ Mansions
For the first time since 1994, Democrats won control of a majority of the nation’s governors’ mansions, wresting away five Republican seats with unofficial results of the Nov. 7 election putting Democrats in charge in 28 states. Democratic gains also vastly outnumbered Republican gains in the nation’s state legislatures, enough to take control of legislative chambers in at least six states — including the New Hampshire House for the first time since at least 1922.
Mixed Messages on Ballot Measures
Even as seven more states on Election Day joined the 20 states that already had passed constitutional prohibitions on gay marriage, Arizona became the first state to reject a ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage. South Dakota voters overrode a law that would have banned abortion in that state; anti-tax activists failed to impose limits on state spending in three states; and minimum wage hikes passed in six states.
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.
Election ’06 – GOP Edge at Stake
Heading into Election Day, at least a dozen governors’ races and 14 of the most competitive statehouses are still up in the air, as Democrats aim to overturn the edge Republicans gained at the state level in 1994.
Longer Ballots Pose Many Questions
Voters will be confronted with a near-record number of citizen-generated questions at the polling place Nov. 7. The questions range from the politically explosive – such as whether to ban gay marriage and abortion – to the quirky, such as whether to let grocery stores in Massachusetts sell wine.
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.
Republicans Cut Democratic Lead in Campaign’s Final Days
A nationwide Pew survey finds that the midterm election campaign has tightened considerably in the campaign’s final week. Among likely voters, 47% say they plan to vote for a Democratic congressional candidate on Tuesday and 43% say they plan to vote for a Republican.