Voters' views of Tuesday's elections, according to an Associated Press analysis of preliminary exit poll results and pre-election polls.
THE ECONOMY OVERSHADOWS EVERYTHING
Over half of voters named the economy as the country's top problem, with no other issue coming close. Nearly all said the economy is in bad shape and expressed concern about its condition over the next year. Roughly 4 in 10 said their family's financial condition has worsened under President Barack Obama. About 6 in 10 say that overall, the country is heading on the wrong track.
THE PRESIDENT DRAWS FROWNS ...
Just over half disapprove of how Obama is handling his job, and similar numbers expect his policies to hurt the country. More than 1 in 3 voters considered their vote Tuesday to be an expression of opposition to Obama; fewer said their vote was meant to voice support for the president.
... AND CONGRESS DOES EVEN WORSE
Only 1 in 4 expressed approval of how Congress is doing its job, including about half voicing strong disapproval. Over half also voice negative views of the Democratic and Republican parties.
IT'S A TEA PARTY
Roughly 4 in 10 voters consider themselves supporters of the conservative tea party. About 1 in 4 voters consider their vote a message of support for the tea party and nearly as many said their vote was meant to signal opposition — but most said the tea party wasn't a factor. Tea party supporters were nearly all extremely negative about Obama and his policies.
About 3 in 4 voters expressed negative views about how the federal government is working, including about 1 in 4 saying they are just plain angry. Less than half want the government to do more to solve problems, while over half say the government should let businesses and individuals handle more things on their own.
THE ISSUES THAT AWAIT
Given three choices, about 4 in 10 want Congress to focus on reducing the federal deficit while nearly as many prefer spending to create jobs. Tax cuts finished last. Only about 4 in 10 want to continue all of the broad tax cuts that were approved under President George W. Bush, including reductions for people earning at least $250,000 annually. Most of those remaining want to let the cuts expire for the wealthiest earners, while a small number want to let them all expire. Close to half want to repeal the health care overhaul Obama enacted this year, while about the same number want to expand it even further or leave it in place.
The preliminary results are from a survey that Edison Research conducted for The Associated Press and television networks with 11,126 voters nationwide. This included interviews with 9,525 voters Tuesday in a random sample of 268 precincts nationally. In addition, landline and cellular telephone interviews were conducted Oct. 22 to 31 with 1,601 people who voted early or absentee. There is a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 1 percentage point for the entire sample, higher for subgroups.
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