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Continued Election Coverage; Breaking Down the Votes; Prop 19 Lost in California; What's Next for the Obama Administration; Possible Recount in Colorado?; From Blue to Red Districts

Aired November 3, 2010 - 04:00   ET


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Race for Senate in Nevada. Majority Leader Harry Reid will keep his Senate seat. He is now projected the winner. He fought off a pretty tough challenge by Republican Tea Party hopeful Sharron Angle and Democrats again hang on to their majority there. You see the final numbers, just barely, but a win is a win certainly especially when so much was at stake with the Senate majority leader.

In Illinois, to make President Obama's night even worse, his old Senate seat actually went Republican. This is another tightly contested race. Real tight all the way down to the end, but Mark Kirk pulled out the win. He beat Democrat Alex Gionnioulias in a very, very, very tight race.

Same with Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Republicans take another Senate seat. Pat Toomey, he was an early Tea Party favorite as well beating Democrat Joe Sestak. Sestak is the man who actually beat incumbent Arlen Specter you may remember in the primary.

Also there were a couple of races that are still undecided at this hour in the Senate. Colorado's battle between appointed Democratic Senator Michael Bennet, he's up against another Tea Party candidate, Ken Buck and right now we have 84 percent of the precincts in. It still too close to call right now for Colorado. One of the most expensive races in the country by the way.

Let's check out Washington State, as well. This one is still down to the wire. Democratic Senator Patty Murray in a virtual dead heat with Republican Dino Rossi. They've counted up 65 percent of the vote right now and, again, that is still too close to call tonight.

Also we're talking about a Florida recount. Well, a huge race for Florida governor is still too close to call, as well. Let's take a quick look right now. We're talking about Alex Sink, she's the Democrat, and Rick Scott, 89 percent of the votes counted.

And we still have a statistical dead heat, 48 percent, 49 percent right now, so again, that race in Florida still undecided.

All right, well, the Senate -- the balance of power right now in the country has certainly shifted this morning not in the Senate, but Republicans rode a wave of voter anger, took at least 60 seats last night.

They gain control of the House of Representatives and that's more than they gained can during the Republican revolution back in 1994 also the biggest swing since 1948. But the Democrats can breathe easy this morning about the upper chamber. They do retain control of the Senate despite a key loss by Russ Feingold, the senator out of Wisconsin. As we told you, Harry Reid remains majority leader although that majority is shrinking.

We have Tom Foreman here now with us. He has been spending the better part of the evening and now into the early morning hours going over the hot 100 races in the House of Representatives. What should we be looking at? What are some of the key trends in this shift of power?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We were looking at this group yesterday saying this is the group that was most likely to change. And look at this, yesterday as you recall, almost all blue and now look at this enormous change here.

Everything sort of pulsating there, that's something that was handed over. These are the class of 2008. These are the seats that came in as Democrats with Barack Obama, they rode in as his van guard of change, the people who were going to make happen.

And these are the ones Republicans picked off and I want to show you a couple specific examples here. Look at down here. If we look at Virginia, the second district in Virginia, here a Republican won. Look at the vote back in '08. That was Barack Obama 51 percent, 49 percent John McCain.

The Republicans looked at districts like that and said this will district wants to be Republican. It just got caught up in the Obama mania and now it can be flipped back and it was flipped back. They looked at other ones here, like if you look at Ohio 16 here, same thing.

They look at and they said this one wants to be Republican and we can really it tell here because, look, it went Republican in the last election dell spite all the election about Barack Obama.

Same thing happened up here in Pennsylvania 3, same effect. They looked at this and said 49 to 49, that's what the presidential vote was. It went John McCain. They not they could do something with that and indeed they did.

But then when you look at how it changed the map, this is the overall map of all of those House races. This was the way it looked yesterday and you can see that sweeping change of color from all of that blue to all of that red. This is the new reality for Barack Obama.

Yesterday this was his army spreading on holding territory to fight for what he wanted. Today, it is in totters. He may be able to do a lot of things, but he's not going to do it with this army. He's going to form a new one.

CHETRY: The interesting thing is how quickly it flipped back. You're talking about people who were brought in the Congress in 2008 and now have to pack their bags and leave. This was a fast turnaround. FOREMAN: Some of these people just barely figured out where their offices are and they're out the door right now. And if you look on the Senate side, you have a lot of the same. This is the map as it was yesterday. This is the map today.

I will tell you this, though, when you say the Senate people can rest easy, I don't think they can. We'll get to this a little bit later on in the morning, but I really want to point out something interesting.

If you look at the governorships - look at this - this is the governorships yesterday, governorships today. Why does that matter? You know why that matters? Because a quarter of the Senate is over 70, well over half is over 60, and when those folks decide to retire or can't go anymore, they're replaced by governors and the governors are now Republicans.

CHETRY: Still close, they held on to the Senate so a small consolation this morning. Tom Foreman, thanks so much. John --

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats, Kiran, still control the Senate this morning. Let's take a look at the balance of power. Right now, 51 seats for the Democrats, 47 seats for the Republicans.

Now, you're saying to yourself, wait a second, aren't there three races that are still undecided? Yes, there are three races that are still undecided, but our election software because the battle in the state of Alaska is between Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller, both of them Republicans, and it looks like one of the two is going to win, we have already given Alaska to the Republicans.

So there's still just two races really left to be decided in terms of which party will control that Senate seat. We should also point out to you, and this is pretty stunning, too, if this in fact does come to pass, Lisa Murkowski's campaign is saying we believe that we have won.

That would be the first time that a write-in candidate has won since 1954 when Stron Thurmond did it. So pretty history in making. Let's take a look at the state of Nevada. Harry Reid manages to eke out a win. As recently as a week ago, it looked like he was in serious trouble from the Republican Tea Party challenger Sharron Angle, but she fell short.

You can see the margins there. Harry Reid garnering 50 percent of the vote, Sharron Angle 45 percent. Our Jim Acosta is live in Las Vegas this morning where, of course, no one ever sleeps. It's about quarter after 1:00 in the strip. They're just getting going there, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I just came from dinner, John. I hope that's OK. I hope you don't mind that, but, yes, you know, one of the questions that I think people will be asking in the coming days after this race here in Nevada, which was just amazing to watch is how is it that the polls were sort of off.

I mean, Sharron Angle was really in the lead in this race into the file hours of this campaign and Harry Reid pulls off a five-point margin of victory at least at this point it looks that way. How is that possible? I think people will be looking at that question.

The other big question is how did Harry Reid win, right? He is the Senate majority leader. He's one of the architects of the Obama agenda. Nevada has the dual distinction as we've been saying over and over again of having the highest unemployment rate and highest foreclosure rate.

I think in the coming days it's going to be determined that perhaps Sharron Angle was just too far to the right, too conservative to win this state, to take down the Senate majority leader.

And Harry Reid as we've been pointing out time and again, that former boxer, he knows how to win these sorts of wild west scraps and he was in one with Sharron Angle and a few moments ago he broke down in boxing terminology as to how won this race.


SENATOR HARRY REID, (D) NEVADA: This race has been called, but the fight is far from over. The bell that just rang isn't the end of the fight, it's the start of the next round.


ACOSTA: Now, shortly after Senator Reid speaks, Sharron Angle did call the senator and concede to him. She gave a speech just down the strip at the Venetian Hotel --

ROBERTS: Hey, Jim --

ACOSTA: She said she was proud of what she accomplished in this campaign.

ROBERTS: Sorry just have to interrupt you. We want to go to Alaska right now because our Drew Griffin is with Lisa Murkowski. Drew, we understand that their campaign is saying that they believe she has won this contest.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's not ask the campaign or anonymous sources. Let's ask the senator herself. She's with me now, John. The question is, Senator, did you make history tonight? Are you saying that you did this?

SENATOR LISA MURKOWSKI, (R) ALASKA: Well, we are in the process of making history and we started that about 46 days ago when I declared as a write-in candidate for the United States Senate. They said it couldn't be done.

They said the last time that anybody did that was 1954 with Strom Thurmond. It can't be done. We said if it can be done anywhere, it can be done in Alaska. And let's prove the rest of the country wrong and we're doing that tonight.

GRIFFIN: Let's be honest, a lot of those who said you couldn't do it, also said that you shouldn't do it, and they were Republicans. What said to you, Lisa Murkowski, I'm going to be in this race? MURKOWSKI: It was for my state from the very beginning. It's not about whether or not the Republican Party thinks it's a good idea, whether the senatorial committee gives you the blessing.

If you feel as I felt that it was necessary for Alaskans to have a choice, a choice between the Republican Party nominee or the Democrat nominee, the write-in process is a completely legitimate process, it's part of an election and I gave Alaskans that choice.

GRIFFIN: Let me ask you one more question. I interviewed you over the weekend and you said something that got you in a little bit of trouble. I asked you if you go back to Washington, are you going back as a Republican. And you said --

MURKOWSKI: I've always been a Republican.

GRIFFIN: You are going back as a Republican?

MURKOWSHI: When I filed my notice to run as a write-in candidate, you have to state your party affiliation. On that form, I stated the party affiliation that I've had since I was 18. I've never switched it and I am a Republican.

I'm not my party's nominee, but I am a Republican. There are only two conferences, two caucuses in the United States Senate, the Democrats and the Republicans. I caucus with the Republicans before. I intend to caucus with the Republicans when I return.

GRIFFIN: All right, Senator Murkowski, thanks for joining us. Not quite declaring victory.

MURKOWSKI: But close.

GRIFFIN: But close, she says, and we're watching it here in Alaska. Kiran, back to you.

CHETRY: Wow, what a turnaround from just a few months ago when Lisa Murkowski was all but - amazing. Drew Griffin for us in Alaska, we'll be checking in with you throughout the early morning hours, as well.

In the meantime, we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we'll get reaction from our political panel, the balance of power is shifting as we've talked about. What does that mean for the president's agenda moving forward and how does the GOP lead? It's 11 minutes past the hour.


ROBERTS: We're back with our special coverage and the big story of Election 2010, shifting the balance of power in the House. We'll get to that in a second.

But, first of all, let's show you where we are with the Senate. Right now with three races yet to be decided, 47 Republican senators, 51 Democratic senators, wait a minute, three races yet to be decided, shouldn't that number be 46? We're giving the state of Alaska to the Republican side because it's going to either be between Lisa Murkowski or Joe Miller so we're giving that 47, the other two states yet to be decided, Washington and Colorado. Fifty one for the Democrats so they are going to be governing with a slim margin, I mean, the maximum that they'll get is 53. So that brings a lot closer that it was.

Let's take a look at what's going on here in the House. Here's the big switch, 218 needed for a majority. Republicans have gotten well past that. They have picked up at least 60 seats, a number still undecided at this point.

The current number 238 for the Republicans, 183 for the Democrats. This is the worst drubbing they've taken since 1948, definitely one that will spark for a while at least the next two years.

Our Brianna Keilar is on Capitol Hill and she's looking early this morning at the effects of what the shift in power is going to mean for Capitol Hill and for the country.

Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning there, John. And I think one of the big things that we've been talking about and looking forward here into exactly what these elections mean, it does mean that there is expected to be more gridlock here in the halls of Congress.

If you think things were acrimonious before, well, they're expected to get even hotter now and you're looking at this on two levels. First off, legislatively because you have voters who have told a lot of these Republican candidates who have been elected that what we want is for you to take a position and stick to it. We don't want a compromise.

And you've been hearing this rhetoric from Republican leaders, that they're not going to be here in this new Congress to cut deals. Then on the other hand, you also have potential acrimony certainly almost guaranteed when it comes to oversight.

Because now in the House of Representatives with Republicans being in power, they have much more oversight of the Obama administration before they could make noise. Now they actually have subpoena power and we're expecting them to use it, John.

ROBERTS: You know, John Boehner said in an interview -- other, it was Mike Pence who said this is a second chance for Republicans. I believe that is the talking point though that's really been throwing out there to all of the members who are coming back and the new one who are coming in.

But the pressure is really going to be on them in the next two years to perform, to not just say no, but to actually get something done. Otherwise, voters may do exactly the same thing to them in 2012 that they did to the Democrats this year. KEILAR: That's right. What can they deliver? That's a big question. And Leader Boehner has kind of set the bar at least saying that what they're going to try to do is do some smaller incremental things, that they're not going to try to do some of this wide sweeping legislative priorities that we've seen the Democrats do.

And certainly they're not going to be able to do that lacking a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. But what about some of the big issues that we've heard some of the voters and candidates say they want to do. They want to repeal health care for instance. What's the reality of really doing that?

It's not that the House of Representatives isn't going to try, but they're going to run smack dab into that reality of lacking the filibuster proof majority in the Senate. So what can they really do?

I think one of the big issues that we're thinking, there may be movement on - it has to do with spending. So many voters have said why am I having to cut back in this recession and seems like Washington is just spending more than they ever have. That's been a big concern and Democrats and Republicans have heard that.

So I think when it comes to some of these ideas of spending cut, even though there could be some push back especially if these are proposed by conservative Republicans, John, there could also be some areas where Democrats and Republicans find that it's political advantageous for them to agree to some cuts.

ROBERTS: And even if they could cobble together a filibuster proof on health care, they don't have a veto proof majority.

KIELAR: No, they don't have a veto-proof majority because -- and certainly the reality of the Senate as we're looking at it now, certainly they're not going to have that.

And then if President Obama were to veto health care repeal, which obviously he would do, that is just a huge obstacle, two-thirds of the House and Senate, Republicans obviously aren't going to be able to hit that mark, John.

ROBERTS: Brianna Keilar for us in Capitol Hill this morning. Brianna, thanks so much. Kiran --

CHETRY: All right still to come, we're going to talk about the challenges that Congress is going to be facing starting tomorrow. We just heard from Brianna some of them we're going to break it down with the Best Political Team on Television as well. It's 19 minutes after the hour.


CHETRY: It's 22 minutes after the hour right now. The panel is already paneling and we haven't even brought them in yet. Historic swing in the House last night as we've been talking about.

The Republicans steam rolled the Democrats in the lower chamber taking at least 60 seats. Remember they only needed 39 to reclaim the majority, 40 then earlier and a little bit earlier the night when one seat definitely went to Democrats.

So what will the first issue they tackle actually be and can they work with President Obama? Are we going to see more partisan bickering or are we going to see more consensus?

Wait let me bring them in. They're rare to go. We have with us Ed Rollins. We have with us Eric Erickson, Joe Johns, John Avlon, and Hilary Rosen. I'll start with Ed.

ED ROLLINS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The first issue is do they have a lame buck. Do they bring 60 members that have just been defeated and try to ram something through before and if they do, obviously there's serious long term consequence to the president. But there are some big issues that need to be addressed and one of which is the tax issue.

CHETRY: Yes, the extension of benefits.

ROLLINS: I have to tell you, the mind set of members who have been defeated, some by close elections, some who basically may want to run again. You look at all these races. There are a couple of percentage points.

They're not going to basically want to go against the will of the people. So my sense is the lame duck session is not going to be anything what they thought it might have been.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it won't be anything -- but for a different reason. I think that Democrats in the House will now say, OK, your problem. You decide whether you want to spend another 700, you know, billion dollars in tax cuts or whether you want to -- for wealthy people or whether you want to give that tax cut to the middle class people.

So I think those are going to be tough calls. Now the Republicans will have to raise the debt ceiling and make the choice between their tax cuts for rich people versus Medicare spending. Democrats in the house will clearly just hand this over to the Republicans. And I think the president, you know, will wait for them to make the first move.

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, independent voters clearly -- difference. There was a quote in the newspaper from an independent voter in Buffalo, New York that summed up, I think really what this election is about.

He said I don't like having both Houses and the presidency being controlled by the same party, 54-year-old independent from Buffalo, New York, truck driver said, by having Republicans in positions of authority, hopefully they'll have to take some responsibility.

And I think that independent truck driver just caught what the election is about. CHETRY: That's interesting though because there were others including people who were asked why they voted for Angle, Sharron Angle in Nevada when they may not have before and they said because I don't want any more laws made. I don't want any more laws passed. I want to vote for gridlock.

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There are two polls that came out yesterday that both showed voters, period, Republicans, Democrat, Independent, they don't want liberal government. They don't want conservative government. They just want no more government. They don't want government in their lives to the extent government's been and they want a scaling back of government.

JOE JOHNS: And this isn't unique to the Obama administration neither. There are a lot of examples of presidents coming in with big agendas, those agendas are, you know, pretty quickly rejected in some degree by the electorate, not as complete lies that one obviously, and then they move on. But people get scared and they say this is too much and there are a lot of people saying this cost too much.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: We need to pay a little homage to Nancy Pelosi, the outgoing speaker of the House who has been an extraordinary speaker in my view. Actually, despite the demonization of her kind of governor very much from the center, she was the one who dropped a significant number of --

JOHNS: Really? Wow.

ROSEN: She's the one who did a lot of things to bring the party together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She passed a progressive agenda items about.

ROSEN: Here's my point, significant crises problems were solved in the last two years. This economy was on the brink of collapse and people took hard votes. Wall Street was out of control, they took hard votes.

Credit card companies now have consumer protections attached to them. There are a whole series of things that have been done that people say they do want government to do. So in some respect now that we're past crisis, maybe that is --

JOHNS: We've been from one crisis and on our way into another because I think it's going to be divisive government, not just divided government. This is proof that you can win and you can win big two years of saying no, of not putting forward any particular proposals and there's no reason not to continue doing it.

And we've had indications from Boehner and from McConnell that that's what they're going to do, that 2012 will be about more no, more gridlock, there's in the going to be that much government. And because maybe that's what the people want, maybe it's not, but it's sure what the politicians want.

ERICKSON: I've pulled the transcripts from CNN in November's election of 2008 and read the whole thing. Every single person, Republican, Democrat, everyone, said the Republicans would be punished in 2010 if they didn't go to get along with Barack Obama. If they were the party of no, they'd be punished. Guess what? Everyone was wrong. The party of no worked.

CHETRY: The interesting thing is when you ask the voters about why they vote the way that they did, a lot of them were not happy with some of the, quote, solutions that you talked about. But the other question is they're not necessarily saying everybody has the answers either, they're saying everybody is on probation.

ROLLINS: I'm willing to concede one thing. The speaker made a major contribution to us when? She was the target in many campaigns. She basically since she's been speakers has also added $5 trillion to the debt. And I think she controlled her Democrats very well. But at the end of the day, that's part --

CHETRY: We have to wrap this one up, but we'll continue the conversation because there's a lot to talk about with respect to how governing will happen in the future now that the results for the most part are in. I want to thank all of you for being with us. It's 28 minutes past the hour. Let's send it back over to John.

ROBERTS: All right, President Obama spent a lot of time in the last week trying to get enthusiasm built among young voters out this, even talking about Justin Bieber yesterday morning on the radio. Well, did it work? Did the president get the youth vote out? Christine Romans firing up the exit poll app coming up next. Stay with us.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Crossing the half hour. It's 4:30 in the morning on the East Coast, it's 1:30 on the West Coast.

Sex. Did we get your attention? We're breaking it down this morning to find out how people across the country voted by sex and by age.

Christine Romans has got the exit poll up on her right for us this morning.

Good morning.


The exit poll information is in. And you're right, it's fascinating to look at some of these numbers and see who came out to vote.

This is what we found when you break it down by sex in the nationwide House races. Total vote by sex, male, 47 percent, female, 53 percent. So you have women more likely to vote this time around than men.

Let me go back and give you another one here. Let's break it down further from there by party. Roll it out. The nationwide House vote, take a look at this. When you break out Democrats, women were more likely to be voting, 49 percent of women, 54 percent of men. There you go. And if you take a look at the Republican part of the vote, 55 percent male, 48 percent female. So that's how it breaks down sex by party break down.

Let's take a look at race now, John. Let me give it a double tap there. Not too many surprises overall, 78 percent of the vote was white. African-American 10 percent. Latino 8 percent. Asian and others, 4 percent of the vote.

And pull back by age now, 18 to 29-year-olds, this is one -- this one kind of surprised me, John. Because we had such a huge youth vote turnout the last election. There's usually a drop off to midterms, but 11 percent the youth vote, 30 to 44 years old, 22 percent, 45 to 64 years olds, those are the baby boomers, 44 percent, 65 and older, 23 percent.

So I don't know. Do you see any surprises in there for you?

ROBERTS: No, not really. I mean it seemed like a pretty typical midterm elections. One of the big surprises, though, is that among people 18 to 29 years old, fully 50 percent of them now, half of those voters identify themselves as independents.

So they're sort of rejecting the tradition of two-party system. We'll see how that plays in to the political landscape in the years to come.

ROMANS: The president took a big push yesterday doing radio --


ROMANS: Trying to kind of energize that youth vote again, carry over from the general election. But 11 percent, I wonder if they're disappointed.

ROBERTS: All right. Christine Romans for us this morning with the exit poll out. Thanks -- Kiran.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: The Republican wave, it did not reach California bucking the national trend. Democrats actually scored big victories in the Senate with incumbent Barbara Boxer holding on to her seat, beating back the Republican challenger Carly Fiorina.

And also in the governor's race, Jerry Brown, blast from the past. He was first elected governor in 1974. Headed back to Sacramento after defeating Republican Meg Whitman.

The news was not as good for supporters of California's Proposition 19. That was the measure that would have made recreational use of marijuana legal. That went up in smoke.

CNN's Ted Rowlands is live in Oakland. There's so much we could do with that, right? But it went the easy route.

Hi, Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kiran. Yes. Someone actually was talking about that and said the first person that says up in smoke as a headline when we were out here earlier this evening -- there were a couple of hundred people here at Oaksterdam University, which is in Oakland, the sort of the heart of the cannabis movement in Oakland which started with the medical side years ago.

And this was really the epicenter of this push for Proposition 19 to try to legalize marijuana use for recreation -- marijuana for recreational use. There was a lot of recreational use of it last night as supporters came to watch the returns on a big screen.

In the end, though, they did not make it. The young vote did not come out in the numbers that they were hoping and Proposition 19 was defeated.


PATRICK TIMMONS, PROP 19 SUPPORTER: Definitely disappointing, but then also, you know, it's an opening. So we've been -- you know, this is all we're going to say. We've managed to forge really in a national and international debate on the issue.

So we win -- we win rhetorically, we don't win with votes. And we win next time by making a better coalition.

AARON HOUSTON, EXEC. DIR., STUDENTS FOR SENSIBLE DRUG POLICY: But for this ballot initiative, people would not have had the national conversation that we're having right now. And this is just going to continue. I mean it's not going to get -- it's not going to get smaller. It's just continuing. It's just getting bigger from here.

DEX TER, PROP 19 SUPPORTER: It's not going to stop. It's going to keep coming back. It's positive. It's a positive day.


ROWLANDS: Now, from the White House, a statement was released saying -- today saying in part, today California recognized that legalizing marijuana will not make our citizens healthier, solve California's budget crisis or reduce drug violence in Mexico.

A lot of people thought -- were watching this very closely and they really thought there was a chance that this would pass, but in the days leading up to the election, the polls started to shift and then on Election Day, we saw that shift go even farther with sort of an overwhelming, and there were a lot of surprised people here, but it was a resounding no by California voters. They're just not ready for recreational use of marijuana -- Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. I guess they're sad at -- what did you call it again? What university? Oaksterdam University?

ROWLANDS: Oaksterdam. Named after drug-friendly Amsterdam here in Oakland.

CHETRY: All right. Well, Ted Rowlands for us this morning. Thanks so much.

We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we're going to have much more -- John.


ANNOUNCER: CNN's live coverage from the Election Center in New York continues.

ROBERTS: And we're back with our political panel, the best political team on television, to talk more about the results of the election.

And, you know, we were talking off-camera an hour ago about the enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats.

And, Hillary, I know that your party was saying that hey, the enthusiasm gap is narrowing. Tim Kaine made bold predictions as recently as a couple of days ago that on Election Day that enthusiasm gap would narrow, that the enthusiasm of the Democratic voter would be realized, and you'd hang on to the House and you'd hang on to the Senate.

Not so much.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Not so much. In fact, you know, the predictions turned out to be -- the worst predictions kind of turned out to be true and we had a big gap in Democratic voters.

I think it will end up creating a little bit of counter-pressure to the calls for the president to move to the center, because I think that progressives will say the best way to ensure for 2012 a much more vigorous Democratic base is for the president to stick to his fighting principles.

ROBERTS: And already -- and already Mr. Independent here is shaking his head.


ROSEN: And one of the things that I think, you know, the president, we're going to see do today is he's going to say I want to work with Republicans, let's work together on jobs, jobs, jobs, and make that our priority. But I do think that he'll end up drawing the line if asked on things like repealing health care, on things like not extending the tax cuts to the rich.

I think that we're not going to -- we're going to see him be extending, but I don't think we're going to see him being, you know, capitulating.

JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And that's funny, people forget, you know we look back on the Clinton/Gingrich years, in retrospect, as almost the golden era because they turned a deficit into a surplus.

But, you know, before they were able to work together on things like welfare reform, there was a near government shut down. So there was a lot of brinksmanship.

But look, the thing that Democrats sometimes have a difficult time fully appreciating is that there are always in America roughly twice as many self-identified conservatives as liberals. There just are. It's a hard fact.

We are a center right nation. And you know a lot of people get upset when we say that but there are just -- there are always twice as many conservatives as there are liberals. So the plate of the base move that works very well for Republicans just on shear numbers in math does not work as well for the Democrats.

ROBERTS: And if he has to attract independents to win, which he does, in 2010 --


ROBERTS: -- will a move to the left serve him well or poorly?

AVLON: It will serve him poorly. He needs to show these herd folks, focus on the economy, win back over the moderates and the middle class. That's who wins elections in America. And he's well positioned to do it.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: I was just going to say, if you play the scenario out, if you start talking about government shuts that downs and things, the next question is, if the president decides to move to the left or right, whatever, and he has a confrontation with the Republicans on Capitol Hill, it leads to a government shutdown.

That makes the American public decide whose side they're on. So -- but -- now realizing that most Republicans I've talked to have said no way on the government shutdown. They're not even thinking about that.




ROLLINS: Here's what everybody in the White House does who deals with the reelection. Started with Richard Nixon. You have a yellow pad and you have all the states that you think are yours. You have 270 is what you're looking at every single day.

Tomorrow Axelrod, all these guys tomorrow are going to look, do we still have 270 --

ROBERTS: Tomorrow being Wednesday or Thursday?

ROLLINS: Probably right this morning.

ROBERTS: OK. So this morning.

(LAUGHTER) ROLLINS: Do we still have 270 electoral votes and they don't. The truth of the matter is when you look at the map as it is right today, Virginia -- big changes in Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, other places, he does not have 270.

So they start thinking about, OK, how do we basically get those states back to where -- what are the things that are interest there. And I would assume the president is going to basically say, all right, I've accomplished a lot legislatively for my legacy. I have to get budgets, and I can deals with those kinds of things, but how do I start basically focusing on getting jobs back in Ohio --

ROBERTS: He's got to put people to work.

ROLLINS: Got to put people back to work. And he's got to get credit for it. So in order to do that, he's got to have a different strategy. He's -- you know Boehner and those guys can all go run the hill. He's not going to spend a lot of time, I don't think, doing all that. And --

ROBERTS: Well -- but predicated on that, Ed, if they're making the calculation of how do we get to 270 two years from now, does anything get done in the next two years except posturing and positioning?


ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's important to show that there's a pivot for Barack Obama. To steal Eliot Spitzer's point from last night, him as a Democrat, admitting that in the last 30 years, there have only been two presidents who were elected who came in as progressives and within two years their seats in the House and Senate were largely wiped out. And they -- and Bill Clinton pivoted to the right.

Will Barack Obama do it? And, you know, the Republicans can't be licking their chops tonight and saying, we're going win in two years because you know what? That's what they said in 1994.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And look, the congressional leadership has some tricky calculations to make as well. I mean I don't agree that the answer to every question is you've got to move further to the right. I mean they picked up 50 seats in 2006/2008. They picked up those seats in districts where people wanted them to do something about health care, wanted them to sort of address some of the issues that the president tried to tackle, the Congress tried to tackle.


LOUIS: But they lost all of those seats and a few more tonight.


ROBERTS: Had the economy not gone down the tank, they might have been able to continue to make that case.

LOUIS: Well, not -- I'm not even sure about that. But I mean the point is, they're elected to fight for certain constituencies. To fight for people who think the government should be fighting on their side. They're not located so they can go and say well, it's not so practical, we're going to have to just give up.

ROBERTS: One quick thought then we got to go.

AVLON: Look, the other thing people need to keep in mind is that presidential elections are much higher turnout than midterm elections. So it's not compared to one proposition, it's a broader more representative sample of the American people. So nobody should be playing this game too far out ahead.

ROBERTS: All right.

ROLLINS: Except there are some --


ROLLINS: Some demographics that are not going to change. These governorships are going to be there for four years.

LOUIS: That's right.

ROLLINS: The congressional seats are going to be drawn and redrawn. Those are going to be there. And that's all about electoral votes.

ROSEN: And I'll make one final point about this --

ROBERTS: As long as it quick.

ROSEN: I agree with that on this, which is that the Obama White House does not believe that their coalition is a Democratic coalition. They do not see the people who elected Barack Obama as presidents a being Democrats.

They see them as being Obama voters. And for them, that is a wider playing field and they have to figure out how to rebuild that coalition.

ROBERTS: All right. Well, we'll see which way it goes. Lots to talk about this morning, no question about it -- Kiran?

CHETRY: So still not known this morning who is the winner. Democrats as we said got pounded in the House but hung on to the Senate. One Senate race that we're still talking about this morning is in Colorado.

Republican Ken Buck and Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet are separated by only a few thousand votes. We're going to head live to Greenwood Village, Colorado, check in with Mary Snow, who's following the latest there.

Coming up, 47 minutes passed the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHETRY: Fifty minutes passed the hour right now. A midterm election juggernaut for Republicans. The GOP now firmly in control of the House and dramatically closing the gap in the Senate. But, again, it looks like the Democrats indeed do hold on to the upper chamber.

But one Senate race too close to call even this morning. In Colorado, Republican Ken Buck and Democrat incumbent Michael Bennet are separated now by only a few thousand votes. There we see it. Literally 4,000 votes separating the two candidates. Too close to call this morning with 86 percent of the votes counted.

We have Mary Snow who's live in Greenwood Village, Colorado. This is just south of Denver this morning.

What are you hearing? I mean this -- we might not know by today, by the end of the day, Wednesday, who is the new senator from Colorado.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kiran, this is hanging in the balance. We're not quite sure when we'll have a definitive answer.

We're here where Ken Buck had his headquarters. You know supporters were here for nearly five hours or more than five hours after the polls had closed before the campaign came down and said, you know, the county clerks are closing for the night, no more votes will be counted.

So this race now hangs in the balance. Both campaigns are saying they will make no announcements until every vote is counted. Both camps, the Republican Ken Buck and Democrat incumbent Senator Michael Bennet, are saying they are predicting victory when each vote is counted.

But, you know, Kiran, the real possibility is that there could be a recount because if the margin of victory is one-half of 1 percent, under Colorado law, that would automatically trigger a recount.

But before that happens, the provisional ballots have to be counted. But so what we expect is that the county clerks will reopen in the morning, continue to count the votes. When we'll get an answer is unclear. Could be a day, two days, who knows.

CHETRY: Could end up being a recount. Mary Snow, for us this morning in Colorado. Thanks so much -- John.

ROBERTS: And coming up next, Kiran, in our special election morning coverage, the day after. We go to the Crimson Hexagon. Stay tuned for that.


ROBERTS: Well, some people have their finger on the pulse of the nation. We have got our data wall on the pulse of the nation. And Tom Foreman is here and we're inside the crimson hexagon.



FOREMAN: Wonderful. Well, the folks at Crimson Hexagon and the folks here at CNN have analyzed the snapshot of twitter. All these millions of tweets happening across the country throughout this election.

I want to show something really interesting. This is the map we've all been talking about. That was yesterday. This is today.


FOREMAN: Blue to red. Look at the big changes in the House districts. What was driving all of that?

Well, one of the questions we looked at here in terms of tweets and what people had to say was, who was responsible. This map back in August was almost all red. People said it was the Republicans. But look now --

ROBERTS: This is what's responsible for the bad economy.

FOREMAN: Yes. This was who's responsible for the bad economy. And when you break it down here now, all these blue states is most people are saying it's the Democrats. Remember for a long time people said it's the Republicans. Some people still do.

In a given state, for example, if you move in here to Virginia, look at that, 32 percent say the Democrats are responsible for the economy, 27 percent said the Republicans.

Well, let's go back and take this off for a minute and look what happened to the map here. This is what it was yesterday. Look at all the turf that the Democrats and Barack Obama held and look at how much they lost.

ROBERTS: Look at that.

FOREMAN: And that's a direct relationship to this notion of the economy.

ROBERTS: Now when you say -- when you say yesterday, those opinions were taken when?

FOREMAN: These -- the opinions were taken further back in terms of when people --


ROBERTS: So it's not like it flipped in a day.

FOREMAN: What I'm saying, the vote flipped in a day, but one is reflecting in a much broader sense. We've talked for a long time about the point at which the Democrats, the Obama administration, will own the economy.

This election and this change in these colors shows you they own it now, lock stock and barrel. There are still some people out there who want to blame the Republican, but the truth is the weight is falling on the Democrats.

ROBERTS: All right. Tom Foreman for us this morning inside the Crimson Hexagon. And we'll be back with more of what the nation is saying via twitter -- Kiran.

CHETRY: Sounds good. We've got a lot coming up. We're entering our next hour, 5:00 a.m. There are still three big Senate races undecided this morning, seven governor's races up in the air. We're going to have much more on that coming up in just a moment. Two minutes to the top of the hour. Stay with us.