Conservative base turned out – it was Independents who went the other way

Just checking out some national exit poll numbers because I was curious to see the party affiliation breakdown of who voted:

About the same number of independents showed up at the polls today as in the last presidential election. This swing-voting group, that both parties battled fiercely to capture, backed Democrats over Republicans by approximately 20 points.

Republicans were relatively successful in energizing their base; conservatives accounted for 32 percent of all voters today, down just 2 percentage points from 34 percent in 2004.

Here’s a more in-depth look at that exit poll.

What lessons do we learn from this? I think Hugh Hewitt has the best take, and Malkin’s right that conservatism last night did not lose (she provides some examples). Other examples are the fact that the Dems had to recruit moderate to conservative candidates to win in races they normally wouldn’t. Heath Shuler upsetting 8-term incumbent House Republican Charles Taylor here in NC is a perfect example. Shuler is not a liberal Democrat. He’ll be moderate at best. The NYT, in their October 28th article describing how Democrats were running conservative candidates in an effort to win in places they normally would not, described Shuler as “… an evangelical Christian [who] holds fast to many conservative social views, like opposition to abortion rights.”

Even at that, I think the Democrats would have won control of the House anyway. Running those conservative Democrat candidates just helped pad the lead. Clearly, the country was dissatisfied with the way the war in Iraq has been handled, the corruption in DC, and in response – to be cliche – voted for “change.” Thankfully, House terms are only two years long, and hopefully two years of a Democratic House will change the minds of the American people who thought yesterday that having a Democratic majority in the House would make the problems we face be effectively resolved.

Additional thoughts: While last night was obviously disappointing from the perspective of losing the House badly (and possibly losing the Senate as well), I can’t get tell you how disappointed I was to discover this morning that the fraudulent Amendment 2 in Missouri passed. In effect, Missouri has just legalized cloning.

The pro-A2 crowd there should be ashamed of themselves for pulling the wool over the eyes of MO voters on an issue as complicated as embryonic stem cell research. But I know they won’t be ashamed, because if you can’t feel shame over the fact that you endorse cloning embroyos in order to destroy them, you certainly won’t feel any from hoodwinking voters. The passage of this amendment could have national implications, with other states possibly looking to enact similar laws. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (it really hurts to say that) is also going to make stem cell research (in general terms) a priority right off the bat, and rest assured she is going to be just as deceptive about it as demagogue Claire McCaskill and the others like her who pushed for it under the guise of “supporting cures” while painting opponents as wanting sick people to die.

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