(CNN)Almost every subgroup of women in CNN's national exit polls moved towards the Democratic Party, including white women, Latinas, white college-educated women, white non-college-educated women, Democratic women and independent women. The only groups that are inconclusive or stayed the same on a national level were African-American women and Republican women.
It is impossible to ignore the defection of women voters away from the GOP
This is the first time since 1984 that Democrats have won control of the House without winning men, and the largest margin for Democrats among women in exit polling history (which dates back to 1976 for the House).
All election cycle, journalists and pollsters alike have noted how pronounced the gender gap has become on the generic ballot. Days before the election, 62% of women likely voters nationally said in a CNN poll conducted by SSRS that they'd support the Democratic candidate compared to only 48% of men who said the same. Exit polls suggest the final vote will largely mirror that result, with 59% of women saying they supported the Democrat compared to 47% of men.
While women have been steadily moving towards Democratic candidates, men have remained more the same, nationally. They did vote more Democratic in 2018 than in 2016, but around the same as they voted in 2012. Men may have moved towards Democrats in this election, but not in any amount we haven't seen before.
White women have been getting more Democratic both on the national level and in most states polled since 2012 -- that includes Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Texas and West Virginia. In the 2012 presidential election, 56% of white women voted for the Republican Party nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 14 percentage points more than voted for President Barack Obama, according to CNN exit polls that year. In 2014, the same margin voted for a Democratic House candidate in the midterms. In 2016, 55% of white women voted for a Republican in the House election, a 12-point lead over Democrats.
In 2018, the same percentage of white women voted for a Democrat as voted Republican -- 49%. That's a drop from a 14-point lead for Republicans in 2012 to a net even currently among white women. This trend towards Democratic candidates among white women also occurred in key states where Democrats did not win statewide races on Election Day, like Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Texas, and West Virginia. Several races, including Senate races in Arizona and Florida remain in question. As of this writing, the Democrat leads in Arizona and the Republican leads in Florida.
White women still voted for the Republican more than for the Democrat in many key states, but less so than in recent elections. In Texas, 71% of white women voted for Republican John Cornyn over Democrat David Alameel for Senate in 2014 (a 44 percentage point difference). In 2016, more white women voted for President Donald Trump than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by 37 percentage points.