US mid-term elections poll data and 2016 presidential election

Exit poll data

Chris Cillizza over at the Washington Post has been crunching the nationwide exit poll data post the 2014 midterm elections. He’s come up with nine numbers that were important in the mid-terms. The underlying issues may also influence what happens in the 2016 presidential race.

Four. That’s the margin by which Democrats beat Republicans among women nationwide in the vote for the House. That’s a significant decline from President Obama’s winning margins among women (11 in 2012, 13 in 2008), though it’s an improvement from the 2010 midterms, when Democrats lost the women’s vote by a point. Still, the massive focus of Democratic candidates across the country on the Republican Party’s supposed “war on women” clearly didn’t persuade large numbers of female voters to abandon the GOP.

The GOP picked candidates such as Joni Ernst in the Iowa Senate race to appeal more to women voters. But if Hillary Clinton is the nominee this is a tough demographic for the Republicans. The ‘war on women’ is go nowhere issue now though, its been done to death.

Sixty-two. That’s the percentage of the vote for Democrats among those who said they “never” attend any sort of religious services; Republicans won just 36 percent among that group. Compare that with the 18-point edge Republicans enjoyed over Democrats among those who go to some sort of religious service weekly and you see that one’s religiosity continues to be among the most reliable predictors of how they will vote.

No surprises here with a clear divide on how Democrats and Republicans vote.

Fifty-four.  A majority of Americans who went to the polls Nov. 4 believe that the “government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals,” while just 41 percent think “the government should do more to solve problems.”

This is a big change from early in the Obama presidency. Republicans will be licking their lips looking ahead of the 2016 election. But can they find a presidential nominee savvy enough to sell this to the voters?

Seventy-eight. How people feel about their government is this number, which represents the percentage of people who say you can only “sometimes” (60 percent) or “never” (18 percent) trust Washington “to do what is right.” That’s stunning. The number is partly attributable to a Republican-flavored electorate and the natural suspicion among many within the GOP of the federal government — particularly when it’s run by a Democratic president.  

This is consistent with the previous statistic.

Forty-eight. That’s the percentage of people who said same-sex marriage should be legal in their state, the same number that said it should be illegal.

Same-sex marriage may well be an influence on some races state-by-state in 2016.

Seventy-five. Three-quarters of the 2014 electorate was white (and they voted for Republicans by 22 points) on Nov. 4. That might seem like great news for Republicans. It’s not. Whites made up 77 percent of the 2010 electorate — and the decline in whites as a percentage of the overall electorate is happening in presidential cycles, too.

The Democrats and Republicans will want to do better with this demographic in 2016.

Thirty-eight. The percentage of the white vote that Democratic candidates won nationwide. That’s the same percentage Democrats got among white voters in the 2010 midterms and virtually equal to the 39 percent Obama won in the 2012 election. That’s a trend — and a downward one for Democrats.

Thirty-six. That’s the percentage of the Hispanic vote that Republicans won Nov. 4, an improvement on the 34 percent they won in 2010 and a major step up from the 27 percent that Mitt Romney took in 2012. It was the strongest showing for Republicans among Hispanic voters since Bush won 44 percent of the Latino vote in the 2004 election.

The Democrats will be a bit concerned how well they relating to the white vote. The Hispanic vote is an interesting one with the immigration debate currently going on. If the GOP want to continue to make ground with this important demographic they will need to frame their policy options carefully and not alienate the Hispanic voters.

Fifty-three. A majority of voters who identified as “moderates” (four in every 10 voters) cast ballots for Democrats. Republicans got 45 percent of the moderate vote. That’s a good reminder that a) “moderate” does not equal “independent” (Republicans won “independents” by 12 points) and b) this election was not decided by “the middle.” It was decided by the Republican base or, put another way, the no-show of the Democratic base.

It is a no-brainer getting moderates and independents motivated to vote. Republicans got the vote out better than Democrats in 2014. The other key demographic not mentioned here are the millennials, this was covered in a previous post.

Quinnipiac presidential election poll

Quinnipiac conducted a poll that assumes Hillary Clinton is the nominee for the Democrats and matched her up against possible GOP contenders.

Romney 45 (%) – Clinton 44.

Clinton 43 – Christie 42

Clinton 46 – Paul 41

Clinton 46 – Huckabee 41

Clinton 46 – Jeb Bush 41

Clinton 46 – Ryan 42

Clinton 48 – Cruz 37.

It is very early days so these numbers will change.


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