Nov 05 2010

Independents, Unions, and Gays- More Exit Polls

As a follow up to yesterday’s CBS News Exit Polling

Greg Sargent

(The Progressive Change Campaign Committee) set to release new polling from the respected Dem firm Public Policy Polling that is meant to buttress this case (“that indys who backed Obama in 2008 stayed home, because they were unsatisfied with Obama’s half-baked reform agenda, while McCain-supporting indys turned out in big numbers”). The Progressive Change Campaign Committee commissioned the poll and sent some results my way.

The key finding: PPP asked independents who did vote in 2010 who they had supported in 2008. The results: Fifty one percent of independents who voted this time supported McCain last time, versus only 42 percent who backed Obama last time. In 2008, Obama won indies by eight percent.

That means the complexion of indies who turned out this time is far different from last time around, argues Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. His case: Dem-leaning indys stayed home this time while GOP-leaning ones came out — proof, he insists, that the Dems’ primary problem is they failed to inspire indys who are inclined to support them.

“The dumbest thing Democrats could do right now is listen to those like Third Way who urge Democrats to repeat their mistake by caving to Republicans and corporations instead of fighting boldly for popular progressive reforms and reminding Americans why they were inspired in 2008,” Green says.

Note: Sargent doesn’t endorse this view, merely reports it.

Taylor Marsh quotes The Wall Street Journal

Union households, a key Democratic voting bloc, turned out in force last night and accounted for a quarter of the vote in the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and Ohio, exit poll showed.

The problem: They didn’t always vote for Democrats, despite six-figure ad campaigns and get-out-the-vote efforts by their unions encouraging them to do so.

In the Pennsylvania Senate contest, for example, exit polls showed that 44% of union household members who voted Tuesday picked Republican Pat Toomey, rather than Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak. Mr. Toomey narrowly won, 51% to 49%, according the latest numbers from the Associated Press.

What’s going on? Nearly half, 45%, of Pennsylvania’s union household voters said someone in their house had been laid off in the past two years. President Barack Obama carried this state by 10 points in 2008, and campaigned there repeatedly this fall. But on Tuesday, 36% of the state’s electorate said they voted to register their discontent with Mr. Obama.

Marsh’s conclusion?  “You think this is bad? Just wait until Pres. Obama cuts a deal on education.”

Finally John Aravosis cites this Yahoo News analysis

Exit polling commissioned by the major cable news networks has found that 31 percent of people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual voted for Republicans on Election Day. That represents a big uptick from the 24 percent of gays who voted for the GOP in 2006 and from only 19 percent who did so in 2008. The trend appears to bear out pre-Election Day predictions from gay rights organizers that gay voters were angry and disenchanted with Democrats for not delivering on promises to the community.

After reviewing the full data, Sherrill says there was a disproportionate drop in Democratic support among LGB voters compared to Hispanic, black, and young voters. Though the sample size is still very small and thus there’s a large margin of error, Sherrill now says the drop may be attributed to “dissatisfaction with the pace of change on LGB rights over the past two years.”

Which John correctly identifies as validation for his initial data set

The best comparison is from one mid-term election to the next mid-term election, since turn out is usually lower in the off years.  Gay voters went from 75% Democratic in the 2006 House races to 68% Democratic in 2010 – i.e., a 7 point drop in gay support for Democrats (and a 7 point increase in support for Republicans), which translates to a 9.3% change.  It was an even greater drop if you look at the percentage of the gay vote that went Democratic in the 2008 House races, 80%, as compared to 68% this year.  That’s a 12 point drop, which translates to a 15% decrease.

My conclusion?  Pissing off your base loses elections.  Duh.

Anyone who claims to care about “electoral victory” is a LIAR!

Update: Amanda Terkel

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