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Economy, Demographic Changes Impact Election Outcome

Demographic changes in some states and worries about the economy have shifted the electoral map this campaign season. Amy Walter and Stuart Rothenberg discuss these significant changes and which voter groups may have had the biggest impact on the presidential election's outcome.

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    All right, now some of the details of what we know and don't know at this early hour. And to Gwen Ifill.


    Thanks, Jim.

    For that, I'm joined by Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the Rothenberg Political Report, and Amy Walter, editor-in-chief of the Hotline, National Journal's political daily.

    So what do we know at this early hour tonight, both of you, about who's voting and what they care about?


  • STUART ROTHENBERG, Rothenberg Political Report:

    Well, Gwen, right now, we know that, again, the economy is the big issue. We've been talking about this for a number of weeks now. And it appears that something like 60 percent of those who are polled in exits say that the economy is the big issue.

    I think the economy has developed as an issue, particularly over the last month with the financial crisis, and people are concerned about unemployment. It's got to be good news for Barack Obama.


    And, Amy, who are these people? We're talking about the people who've been polled as they leave their exit — their polling places today.

  • AMY WALTER, Editor-in-Chief, The Hotline:

    That's right. Well, it's interesting. At least at this point, it doesn't look like this surge in new voters that had been expected and talked about for much of this campaign.

    What it's telling us now is that about 1 in 10 voters say that they are voting for the first time. In 2004, it was basically that same number; 11 percent said they had never voted before.

    What we do know about these new voters, though, is they're overwhelmingly young — not surprisingly — they're overwhelmingly non-white — again, not a surprise, knowing that the Obama campaign's focus on getting new, young voters into the process.

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