In exit polls taken across America on Election Day, respondents were asked about the importance of various issues and considerations in determining their votes. Among those who voted Democratic, three issues stood as the keys, all at a roughly equal level of importance: Iraq, corruption and scandals in Washington and the economy. [emphasis added]Republicans kept telling us the economy was strong, the stock market was doing great and jobs were plentiful across the nation (except for Michigan, of course). Why weren't voters convinced?
Among the total electorate, 39 percent of voters said the economy was an extremely important issue for them in this election. These voters broke solidly for the Democrats—voting for a Democratic candidate in House races by a margin of 59 percent to 39 percent.
Similarly, 41 percent described the issue of corruption and ethics to be extremely important—with these voters also breaking 59 percent to 39 percent for the Democrats. Thirty-five percent of voters said the war in Iraq was extremely important in shaping their vote; this group split 60 percent to 40 percent in favor of the Democrats.
Polling conducted before the election shows the employment rate is not a good measure of Americans’ real confidence in the economy. A significant majority believe (rightly so) that the new jobs we added to the economy are not as good as the jobs we have lost, both in terms of pay and benefit. In polling conducted for the AFL-CIO, most Americans say that even if you get a good education and are willing to work hard, it is hard to find a job in today’s economy that is both secure and good paying.It's not just the present that has voters concerned. They're also worried about what the future holds for the next generation.
The key number from the national exit polling is that only 31 percent of voters feel they and their families are able to get ahead financially in the current economy; the rest report that they are just keeping up or falling behind. The Republicans won handily in the election among the minority who feel they are doing well economically, but they suffered major losses among the majority of voters who don’t feel they are benefiting from Bush-onomics.
Just one in three voters said they expect life to be better for the next generation, while 40 percent said things for the next generation will be worse than they are today. Those who worry that the next generation will be worse off voted decisively for change on Election Day—siding with the Democrats over the Republicans by 66 percent to 32 percent.So, what do working families across America expect from the new Congress? They want them to take action on a working families' agenda that includes protecting workers' wages and benefits in cases of corporate bankruptcies, requiring Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, reforming trade agreements to protect workers' rights, raising the minimum wage and expanding health coverage.
Are you listening, Democrats? The voters delivered for you, now it's time for you to deliver for the voters - on all three issues.