Over at The American, AEI’s polling expert Karlyn Bowman has brought together the most interesting exit poll results from last night. She examines the issues A-Z, so definitely check out the whole article, but here are the top 5 highlights in my view:
Government’s role: When voters were asked which was closer to their view, 43% said that government needs to do more to solve problems, while 51% said that government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals. Three-quarters of voters who said government was doing too many things voted for Romney; eight in ten voters who said government should do more voted for Obama.
In Quinnipiac’s national poll from September, the results (40 percent said government should do more, while 52 percent said it was doing too much) were similar to the results we saw on Election Day.
Latinos: One of the big questions of this election season concerned Latino turnout. Their share of the electorate was 10% this year, compared to 8% in 2008. While the difference is small, it is extremely consequential politically.
The demographer Joel Kotkin has said that demography is the best friend the Democrats have. Latino voters cast their ballots for Obama over Romney by 71 to 27%. In 2008, they voted 66 to 32% for Obama over McCain.
The 2010 Census told us that Asians were the fastest growing minority group in the country in the last decade. The Asian population has grown substantially in states such as Virginia, Nevada, Arizona, and North Carolina, and both campaigns wooed this diverse group there. In this election, they were 3% of all voters, and they supported Obama over Romney by 73% to 26%.
Married voters: The voting gap between married and unmarried voters is much larger than the gender gap. In all recent elections, married voters have favored the Republican candidate, and unmarried voters the Democrat. This year, 56% of married voters favored Romney, 42% Obama. Unmarried voters can be never married, widowed, or divorced. Many in this category are single and young. In 2008, 65% of them voted for Obama; in 2012 62% did. Non-married women supported Obama more strongly (67%) than did non-married men (56%). The not-married portion of the population is growing.
The marriage gap in this election was 41 points. The gender gap was 18.
Rich: Fifty-nine percent of voters said the economic system favors the rich and 39% said it was fair to all. Seventy percent of the former favored Obama, 77% of the latter, Romney.
Ten percent in the exit poll said Obama’s policies generally favor the rich, 44% the middle class, and 31% the poor. Fifty-three percent in a separate question said Romney’s policies favored the rich, 34% the middle class, and 2% the poor.
Taxes: Thirty-three percent of voters said taxes should be raised to help reduce the budget deficit (73 percent of them for Obama), while 63% disagreed (they voted for Romney over Obama, 61 to 37%).
In another question, 13% of voters said income tax rates should increase for all, 47% increase only on income over $250,000, and 35% not increase for anyone. Those who said they should increase for all voted 52% for Obama, 44% for Romney. Those who said they should increase only for upper-income people voted 70 to 29% for Obama. Those who said they shouldn’t increase for anyone voted 75 to 23% for Romney.