Published November 03, 2010
Women and independents took the biggest turn away from Democrats since the 2008 election, a Fox News analysis of exit polling from Tuesday's midterm vote shows.
In both demographic groups, the percent of eligible voters remained constant from 2008 to 2010. Women turnout was 53 percent, while 28 percent of registered independents voted.
But their preferences had a big impact on the GOP win. Whereas the gender gap played a major role in 2008 with women voting for Democrats 56 percent of the time compared to Republicans 42 percent of the time, in 2010 the split was 49-48 percent for Democrats to Republicans.
Likewise, independent voters supported Democrats 51 percent of the time compared to 43 percent of the time for Republicans in 2008. But in 2010, the Democrats garnered only 39 percent of the independent vote compared to 55 percent for the GOP.
While turnout in a midterm is generally lower than in a presidential year, early numbers suggest that voters participated in the 2010 election at much higher levels than previous midterm years.
Turnout in the 2008 race was measured at 61.6 percent of the eligible electorate, or 132.6 million voters.
Comparing 2008 to 2010 also shows that youth and minority voting blocs for the most part stayed in the Democratic camp.
According to polls, turnout for African-Americans and young voters declined from 13 to 10 percent and 10 to 5 percent of eligible voters in each category, respectively.
In 2008, African-Americans voted for Democrats 93 percent of the time compared to Republicans who chose the GOP candidate 5 percent of the time. The change was modest in 2010, with African-Americans voting for the Democrat in 90 percent of the cases compared to 9 percent for Republicans.
Likewise, voters ages 18 to 24 were overwhelmingly supportive of Democrats in 2008, with 62 percent of the vote. In 2010, they chose the Democratic candidate 58 percent of the time. The GOP choice rose among young voters modestly, from 35 percent in 2008 to 39 percent in 2010.
Hispanic turnout was the same in both years at 8 percent, and the numbers changed only slightly from 68 percent of support for Democrats in 2008 to 65 percent in 2010. GOP support from Hispanics rose from 29 percent to 33 percent, belying the fact that several Hispanic candidates won Republican races, most notably the New Mexico and Nevada governors.