Posted Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010, at 4:26 PM
One result in the exit poll pretty much proves it: Of the voters who turned out, 45% said they voted for John McCain and 45% said they voted for Barack Obama. This is also an electorate that opposes gay marriage more than most national polls suggest - 54-40 against. Extrapolating from that, we can start to see all sorts of races that the Democrats can compete to win again in 2012, when and if their electorate coheres again, which is what Democrats were starting to pre-spin. Yes, this was a whiter, older, more male electorate than they expect to have to face again.
What we need to keep studying is how much of the anti-government attitudes in the poll reflect the electorate and how much of them reflect new, Obama era disgust at government -- how much anti-bailout anger has defined this decade. An electorate that says "government is doing too much" by a 56-38 margin is not one that is going to give the Democrats a second chance. It's one that really has internalized the argument that government made the recession works, and makes recessions worse.