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Economic issues prove popular at the polls, while many social issues slump

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    As we wrap up our show tonight, we decided to take a big-picture look at the election. What do the results tell us about the ideas and the groups that voters like and which ideas they reject?

    Political reporter and editor Lisa Desjardins reports — presents a few of the winners and the losers.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    One of the biggest winners last night wasn't a political party, but an industry.

    Energy. For oil and gas producers, a Republican-controlled Senate means much better odds for the Keystone pipeline. For coal, it means greater pushback against the EPA.

    Now, in some ways, yesterday went to pot.

  • MAN:

    Legalize marijuana on Tuesday.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., passed initiatives legalizing the private sale or possession of marijuana.

    One hit for the legalization movement, medical marijuana failed to gain enough support last night in Florida.

    Winner number three, minimum wage workers. Five states, Arkansas, Alaska, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota, all passed measures approving or endorsing raises for their lowest-paid workers, so a good night for them, a terrible night for Southern Democrats with the title senator.

    SEN. MARK PRYOR, (D) Arkansas: I must confess that I have some sadness tonight.

    SEN. KAY HAGAN, (D) North Carolina: I will always be grateful for the trust that you placed in me.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Incumbents Kay Hagan and Mark Pryor went down in North Carolina and Arkansas. And, in Virginia, Democrat Mark Warner is in front, but barely. It's too close to call. That leaves a small handful of Democratic senators across the South, with the one in Louisiana still very much in danger.

    Conservatives loved that, but they had a mixed night on one of their big issues. Tennessee gave lawmakers more power to implement restrictions on abortion, but the anti-abortion movement lost big on measures in Colorado and North Dakota, which would have defined life at an early stage of development.

    Finally, the left also lost on a significant issue. The push to label genetically modified foods failed in Colorado and Oregon.

    So, you can see a glaring theme here. Economic issues had a big night with voters, but some more social or societal issues, except for marijuana, went nowhere.

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