The results of the actual elections are in — let’s see what we can learn from what voters told exit pollsters yesterday.
First, the American electorate is getting older. According to CNN’s exit polling data, two-thirds of voters were 45 or older. Those older voters skewed Republican: 53 percent of those 45-64 and 57 percent of those over 65 voted GOP.
One problem, of course, is that this makes entitlement reform less likely. The average 50-year-old is unlikely to favor Medicare reform, for example, when he’s just a few years away from being eligible.
An older electorate could also mean slower economic growth is ahead. In Europe and Japan, they’re struggling with aging workforces, and that’s making it more difficult to pay the social benefits that governments have promised. Our federal government could find itself in the same situation.
There are opportunities for change, though. Two-thirds of American say the country is on the wrong track. More than half think “government is doing too much,” and most — three-quarters — say they are worried about economic conditions.
Finally, it’s fair to say voters are simply unhappy.
More than half (55 percent) disapprove of President Obama’s job performance. Yet three-quarters disapprove of how Congress is doing. Voters are angry with the Obama administration (60 percent) and GOP leaders in Congress (70 percent). Exactly 54 percent have an “unfavorable opinion” of both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Finally, seem to doubt that any of the people being floated as potential 2016 candidates would turn the tide. More than half don’t think Hillary Clinton would be a good president. But on the Republican side, where there’s a deeper bench, there wasn’t a standout candidate either. Asked whether these men would be a good president: 59 percent say Jeb Bush wouldn’t, 64 percent say Chris Christie wouldn’t, 60 percent say Rand Paul wouldn’t and 62 percent say Rick Perry wouldn’t.
People have been known to fib to pollsters, of course. But the exit polls show many Americans are hungry for change.