Electorate divided by daily life, views on issues

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Judging by the exit polls, people who vote for Democrats and those who back Republicans seem to be living in different countries.

Those on either side of the aisle express sharply divergent views on top issues, making it difficult for lawmakers to discern a clear mandate for governing.

A look at some of the differences exit polls revealed between those voting for Democrats and those who back Republicans on the issues and in their day-to-day lives:


—Fifty-four percent of those who voted for Democrats said the country is headed in the right direction, while 88 percent of Republican voters think it’s on the wrong track.

—Nearly 9 in 10 of those who voted for Republicans think the economy is in bad shape, compared with just over half of Democratic voters.

—Two-thirds of Democratic voters think the economy is either improving or in good shape and staying that way. Eight in 10 Republican voters think the economy is bad and stagnant or getting worse.

—Sixty-four percent of Republican voters, but only 30 percent of Democratic voters, think life for the next generation of Americans will be worse than life today.

—On climate change, 86 percent of those who backed Democrats called it a serious problem; two-thirds of Republican voters said it’s not a serious issue.

—More than 8 in 10 Republican voters, but only 6 in 10 Democratic voters, are worried about the threat of terrorism.

—Nearly two-thirds of those backing the GOP say marijuana use should be illegal, most Democratic voters disagree.



—Republican voters are disproportionately likely to live in the South (38 percent, compared with 27 percent of Democratic voters) and less likely to live in cities (26 percent of Republican voters compared with 39 percent of Democratic ones).

—Eighty-seven percent of Republican voters were white, while 61 percent of voters backing Democratic candidates were.

—Women outnumbered men among the Democratic electorate, but among Republican voters the proportions were reversed. Nearly half of Republican voters, but only about one-quarter of Democratic ones, were white men.

—Seventy percent of Republican voters are married, compared with 55 percent of Democratic ones.

—Twenty percent of Democratic voters and only 12 percent of Republicans made less than $30,000 a year. One-third of those backing Republicans earned $100,000 or more last year, compared with about one-quarter of Democratic voters.

—4 in 10 Republican voters were white evangelical Christians and nearly half attend religious services weekly. Among Democrats, a third attend services weekly, 11 percent were white born again Christians.


The survey of 20,168 voters was conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks by Edison Research. This includes results from interviews conducted as voters left a random sample of 281 precincts Tuesday, as well as 3,113 who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 24 through Nov. 2. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Graphic shows national exit poll results by political party
Graphic shows national exit poll results by political party