Pew Forum Senior Fellow John Green and American Enterprise Institute Resident Fellow Karlyn Bowman analyze polling data to address such issues as whether Democrats closed the "God gap," which religious groups were "in play" this election, and whether or not religion polarizes voters.
Widely cited findings from the national exit polls suggest Latinos tilted heavily Democratic in the 2006 election, taking back most of the support they had granted the Republicans just two years earlier. Does that mean the Latinos who flirted with the Republican Party are now firmly back in the Democratic camp?
The religious divide in voting that has characterized American politics over the last several elections largely persisted in the 2006 election. But people in most religious groups say they are happy that the Democrats won.
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.
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 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.
In recent decades, there have been three basic ways that turnout has worked to produce the sort of "big wave" midterm that the Democrats are hoping for next week.
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.
In a Pew Forum roundtable conversation, Forum senior fellow John Green and two prominent journalists speculate that it will be difficult for the Republican Party to mobilize evangelicals to go to the polls in great numbers next month. They also discuss challenges faced by the Democratic Party in appealing to this segment of the electorate.
Red States Stay Red, Blue States Get Bluer, Swing States Deadlock