Some notes on the exit polling from Election 2010:
- Democrats turned out in roughly the same numbers they did in the last midterm. Nationwide turnout for Election 2010 was 36 percent Republican, 36 percent Democrat, 28 percent independent. The major difference between this election and the 2006 midterm (partisan turnout: 38D-36R-26I) is not turnout, but rather the fact that Republicans won the independent vote by 18 points. In 2006, they lost it by the exact same margin.
- At 34 percent, Republicans turned in one of their better recent performances with Hispanic voters. If all margins hold as currently reported, Republicans will represent eight of the 30 most heavily Hispanic congressional districts in America. Three of those are South Florida districts with significant Cuban populations.
- First-time voters narrowly favored Democrats (49 to 46 percent), but made up only 3 percent of the electorate.
- The share of voters with a union member in their household was down, from 23 percent in 2006 to 17 percent this year. Union households also voted about 8 points more Republican.
- Two years of Obama-Reid-Pelosi were enough to rehabilitate the philosophy of limited government. 56 percent of this year’s voters felt the government is doing too much, and only 38 percent believed it should do more. Each group voted roughly 80-20 on opposite sides.
- You can blame the Tea Party for Republicans’ failures in the Senate, but also credit them for successes in the House. Pending late outcomes, so-called “Tea Party” candidates, as defined by the New York Times, made between 30 and 35 of the GOP’s net House gains. Many of these came in places where Republicans have never been competitive — at least not in my lifetime.