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Here’s who showed up to the polls and how they voted

What do Tuesday's midterm exit polls reveal about the ways gender, educational attainment and age played out differently across the nation? Judy Woodruff gets analysis from Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, beyond the results of individual races, each election brings with it exit polls, interviews with voters as they leave their polling places.

    Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report has been poring through all this. She's back with us tonight.

    You just can't get enough time with us, Amy.

  • Amy Walter:

    I feel like I have not left this chair in hours.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We did let her leave momentarily and come back.

  • Amy Walter:

    Momentarily, yes.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But, so, Amy, mixed results last night. As the president said, they did well, they were able to pick up seats in the Senate, Republicans, but a different story in the House.

    What do you see in looking through these numbers?

  • Amy Walter:

    Yes, this might remind you a little bit what we saw in 2016, where one candidate did very well in the popular vote, won the popular vote, as a matter of fact, by more than two million votes, and yet last the Electoral College.

    This is sort of what we saw in the election map in 2018. And what I did was, I looked at two things they asked. There's a House national poll, basically, all the people who voted in every single House race, right? So it's basically a big national survey vs. the individual states.

    And here's a couple of things that stood out to me, first on gender. We know that women overwhelmingly supporting Democrats. We saw — just saw Lisa's package about all the women candidates who were successful.

    Look at that. Democrats — or women voted for Democrats by 19 points, and Democrats only lost men by four points. So, that was a pretty impressive showing nationally.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Nationally.

  • Amy Walter:

    Right?

    But then look at us like Indiana, where Senator Joe Donnelly, Democrat, lost. There, what you find is, women went for Democrats, but only by three points, instead of 19, and the Republicans won men by 17 points.

    In other words, Republicans did even better with men in these red states, and Democrats did not do as well with women. And that sort of repeats itself in so many of the battleground Senate races.

    So you — this is how you get to a situation where you have Democrats having such a great big night, where we talk so much about this gender gap, and yet did not find that same success in other states.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And you looked also at education. You looked at age.

  • Amy Walter:

    Right.

    And so look at education, age. Again, these are the sorts of numbers that Democrats wanted to hit with white college graduates. They are winning over on the national level, Democrats winning those over by eight points, losing whites without a college degree by 24 points.

    This is even a slight improvement from 2016. But now look at the Indiana Senate, not as well, Democrats doing not as well with those sorts of voters. So, a national pool of voters, Democrats do really well. So you had a whole bunch of people that turned out and showed up in California or New York or in some of these metro areas.

    But if that's not where those battleground Senate states were, it was not as — you know, it was not as determinative.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Almost a story of two different elections.

  • Amy Walter:

    It was two very different elections.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Very different elections.

    And with age, with regard to age.

  • Amy Walter:

    And age was really a very significant difference — 25 points, Democrats won those younger voters, under 45 years old. Older voters, they also lost — I'm sorry — Republicans won by one point.

    But now you go to a state like Indiana, Democrats only win those younger voters by two points. So, again, I think you had a lot of younger voters show up, but many of them living in places — not that we're not Indiana — they were probably determinative in many of these House races or in some cases, they showed up to vote in districts that weren't competitive at all.

    It's a reminder to us that there are, again, multiple elections, even when there's one national election and that, in 2020, we're going to have a similar dynamic. Democrats could find themselves once again hitting very big numbers nationally, big margins nationally, but in the states that determine the Electoral College battleground map, it could look different.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    You also looked, Amy, at the Trump factor. We have, of course, been talking about that, the extent to which the president made this a referendum on himself.

  • Amy Walter:

    Yes, he did.

    And in the House, that was a thing that Republicans had hoped, he wouldn't make it a referendum on himself, because in so many of the suburban districts, the president was basically toxic, somewhere around 40, 45 percent approval rating in those places.

    But when you look at the map of where Republicans flipped Senate seats or held on to Senate seats, places like Missouri and Indiana, Tennessee, Texas — look at North Dakota. The president had a 62 percent approval rating in North Dakota.

    Where the president was popular, Republicans won. Where the president was unpopular — Nevada, he's under 50 percent there, 47 percent approval rating — the Democrats won.

    There was one big exception, of course, and that's Joe Manchin in West Virginia, a state where the president has 63 percent approval rating. Manchin is able to hold on. But there is a very strong correlation between your opinions of the president and how you voted in the Senate race or the governor's race in your state.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So fascinating to look through these numbers.

    And I know you're continuing to do that as the days go by.

  • Amy Walter:

    Let's keep going. Thank you.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Amy Walter, thank you very much.

  • Amy Walter:

    You're welcome, Judy.

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