Voters deliver a mandate for a new economic strategy

Over the last few months, NDN has been part of a broad progressive campaign to explain why the American economy was not delivering the type of broad-based prosperity this country needs. This week, American voters delivered a clear and unmistakable mandate for action on our economy. The facts are simple: during the Clinton era, the average family income increased by more than $7,000; but in the Bush era the average family has actually seen their income decline by more than $1,000. And the results this week make it clear that this lack of upward mobility was a critical issue in removing the Republicans from power.

There is a prevailing wisdom emerging that this election was about the Iraq war. This is only partially correct. Of course, Iraq mattered. But the exit polls and post-election analysis make it clear that the economy mattered a grea deal, perhaps even more than Iraq. The economy was a deciding factor in key battleground states, and was especially important for swing voters. Moreover, voters who felt the economy was doing badly were overwhelmingly more likely to vote Democrat (all exit polls referenced are the official national exit polls which can be found here).

  • The economy was the most important issue. The exit poll asked voters if they considered various issue important in deciding their vote. If you add up those who responded - where issues were extremely, very, or somewhat important - the economy comes out number one.

Table 1: Which issue was most important?


Extremely Important

Very Important

Somewhat Important



39% 43% 14% 96%
Corruption 41% 33% 18% 92%
Iraq 35% 32% 21% 88%
Terrorism 39% 33% 20% 82%
Moral Values 36% 21% 20% 77%

  • Economy Crucial in Battleground States. The economy played a critical role in the key battleground states that decided the election. In these areas the results could not be clearer: the economy was the number one issue. The exit poll asked voters in key swing states about Iraq and the Economy. In each swing state more voters thought the economy was either “extremely important” or “very important” in their decision over who to vote for their senator.

Table 2: Economy vs Iraq in Key Senate Races

Economy Iraq
Missouri 83% 62%
Montana 82% 65%
Ohio 83% 66%
Pennsylvania 81% 68%
Virginia 82% 69%


  • Economy Plays Big with Swing Voters. Stan Greenberg’s post-election analysis shows that Iraq was the dominant issue for the majority of voters. However, Greenberg is clear that the economy was the second most important issue overall, and that it played a disproportionately important role in persuading swing voters who were considering voting for the Democrats. Among this group of swing voters 51% cited economic issues like gas prices, while 38% cited jobs and the economy. Only 23% cited Iraq.
  • Only 30% of Americans believe they are getting ahead. The exit poll in two separate questions about the perception of their own economic situation, only 30 percent said their own economic situation had improved in recent years. And remarkably, the same number – only 30% - said they believed the life of the next generation would be better than theirs. Of those who felt they had prospered voted about 2:1 for the Republicans. For those who were struggling, they voted the opposite way, 2:1 for the Democrats.
  • Those struggling to get ahead voted Democrat. Additional questions confirm how much a factor perceptions of the economy were in driving the Democratic vote. Those who thought the economy was “excellent” voted overwhelmingly for the Republicans (86% vs 13%.). Democrats easily carried those who thought the economy was either “not good” (74% vs 23%) or “poor” (85% vs 13%.).

All of this added together clearly shows that the American people want the new Democratic majorities in the House and Senate to focus and pursue an aggressive strategy to help them and their families get ahead.

This administration’s economic record has left America weaker, and the American people worse off. This election year, the American people held them accountable. Now it is time for action.

Also check out these links:
The Economic Debate: Bring it on (October, 2006)
Read our memo on The Bush Economic Record (September, 2006)
Read our memo on Rebuilding the National Consensus on Trade
(September, 2006) 

NDN Buzz

Click here to listen to Simon on NPR. While Simon points out that the G.O.P's approach to immigration backfired, he notes that with a Democratic congress, passing comprehensive immigration reform could be easy and could improve the President's legacy.

Dems Win Senate

Just in case anyone missed this - Allen is giving up, and the Democrats have control.

Democrats' Senate Win Seals Control of U.S. Congress (Update1)

Nov. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Democrats clinched majorities in both houses of the U.S. Congress for the first time since 1994 by winning a Senate seat in Virginia, capping a dramatic return to power on Capitol Hill.


What about exit polls?

For all of you searching the internet for exit polls, you're probably wondering where all the data is. Rest assured - not even Drudge has it. The LA Times has a very interesting piece on how networks are approaching exit polling this time around.

Simon on The Al Franken Show at 12:30pm EST Today

Simon will be on Air America's The Al Franken Show today at 12:30pm EST. 

When the Polls Close

A handy map from The Swing State Project lists when polls close. (All times are EST.) This morning's post says we might have a sense of the results early. But, on the other hand, there is no national poll that will be a good guide to the House races. And my colleagues tell me that the LA Times recently wrote that all American pollsters are being held in a blackberry free basement to stop leaking, so we might not know until later. Who knows? Roll on 6pm.

Making the Republicans continued efforts to discourage voting a national issue

Reports from all over America, coming in largely through the blogs and associated listservs, are showing Republicans and their Party Committees stooping to new lows to confuse voters and discourage people from voting.  in some cases laws have clearly already been broken.  In other cases - like the new flyer from MD shown on Kos tonight - they have brought shame to their politics. 

One of our greatest message opportunites in future years is for us to make the simple case that we want ever one to vote, and the other side doesn't. 

We need to use their systemic efforts to discourage and deny folks the right to vote - in a terrible version of the "whatever it takes" argument of the Bush campaign in 2004 - something that hurts their brand and their leaders across the country. 

Their systemic efforts to gain and hold on to power at any costs is a national disgrace. 

Georgia10 on Dailykos has a good roundup of things to be on the lookout for tomorrow.

Charlie Cook also doesn't buy the "tightening" argument

Earlier today we released a memo arguing that there was no conclusive evidence that the national race had "tightened."  Charlie Cook, respected election handicapper, agrees:

.....November 6, 2006

Going into Election Day, we see a 20-35 seat gain for Democrats in the House, a four to six seat gain for Democrats in the Senate and a six to eight seat gain for Democrats in the governor's races.

All Monday there was considerable talk that the national picture had suddenly changed and that there was a significant tightening in the election.  This was based in part on two national polls that showed the generic congressional ballot test having tightened to four (Pew) and six (ABC/Wash Post) points.

Seven national polls have been conducted since Wednesday, November 1.  They give Democrats an average lead of 11.6 percentage points, larger than any party has had going into an Election Day in memory.  Even if you knock five points off of it, it's 6.6 percentage points, bigger than the advantage that Republicans had going into 1994.

Furthermore, there is no evidence of a trend in the generic ballot test.  In chronological order of interviewing (using the midpoint of field dates), the margins were: 15 points (Time 11/1-3), 6 points (ABC/Wash Post), 4 points (Pew), 7 points (Gallup), 16 points (Newsweek), 20 points (CNN) and 13 points (Fox).

In individual races, some Republican pollsters see some movement, voters "coming home," in their direction, and/or some increase in intensity among GOP voters.  All seem to think that it was too little, too late to significantly change the outcome.  However, it might be enough to save a few candidates.  None think it is a major change in the dynamics of races, and most remain somewhere between fairly and extremely pessimistic about tomorrow's outcome."

NDN Final Polling Analysis: Democrats Maintain Historic Advantage

An NDN analysis of the 7 most recent national election polls show Democrats with a striking 12 percentage point average lead in the generic Congressional ballot. This 12 point lead is almost double the 7 point advantage Republicans had in the days before the 1994 election in which they won the Senate, and gained a net of 52 seats in the House.

The two newest polls released by CNN and Fox News show Democrats with 13 and 20 point generic advantages respectively, among likely voters, sternly repudiating any argument that the race has “tightened” in recent days.

Generic Congressional Vote







11/01 - 11/05




FOX News

11/04 - 11/05





11/03 - 11/05




USA Today/Gallup

11/02 - 11/05




Pew Research

11/01 - 11/04




ABC News/Wash Post

11/01 - 11/04





11/02 - 11/03





11/01 - 11/03




Beyond the national polls, Republican weakness is best seen in what is happening today in Florida. The President’s last major event of the campaign is in a hard Republican area of the state, Pensacola, where there are no competitive Senate or House races. Republican Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist even announced yesterday he wouldn’t be able to join the President. So who will be on stage with President Bush today in Florida? Their failed Senate candidate, Katherine Harris, the architect of the electoral debacle in Florida in 2000, and now a national embarrassment for the GOP. What a remarkable ending to this amazing election year.

Bottom line: look hard at the last minute data, and the only responsible conclusions are that Democrats hold a historic generic Congressional advantage. There is no reliable evidence of any late breaking Republican trend. And Tuesday is looking very bad indeed for those in power.

(Be sure to read my 2004 post-election analysis for a baseline on how to understand tomorrow's election results.)

Simon on The Radio

Check out Simon on the Radio this week. 

This morning: he was on The Young Turks morning program on Air America Radio. 
11pm EST - The Jim Bohannon Show

12:30pm EST - Al Franken Show on Air America.

Simon will also be Dateline: Washington with Greg Corombus on Radio America. 

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