Soaring prices were top of mind for voters as they cast ballots in this year’s midterm elections, according to the preliminary results of the national and state exit polls conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.
Nearly a third of voters said inflation was the issue that mattered most in deciding how they voted for House candidates. And more than 7 in 10 of them opted for Republicans.
Inflation also dominated in most of the exit polls conducted in 11 key states. At least two-thirds of those concerned about high prices in several crucial states cast ballots for Republican Senate candidates.
Around three-quarters of voters nationally said the economy is “poor” or “not good,” and the same share said that inflation has caused them severe or moderate hardship. About two-thirds said that gas prices have been causing them hardship.
Voters have a dour view about the way things are going in the country generally, with more than 7 in 10 saying they are “dissatisfied” or “angry.”
The exit poll results are in line with pre-election polling, as well as consumer confidence surveys, all of which show that Americans are worried about the state of the economy.
Though President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats have tried to tout the measures they’ve taken to lower costs, many voters aren’t giving them credit. Just under half of voters for House candidates said Biden’s policies are hurting the country, while only around one-third said they are helping, exit polls found.
Even Biden’s plan to forgive some student loan debt has not rustled up widespread support. Roughly half of voters approve of the effort, while nearly the same share disapprove.
Despite voters’ angst about the economy, the Republicans’ red wave does not seem to have fully materialized. Abortion was also a significant factor in the election, with more than a quarter of voters listing it as a top issue. About 61% said they were unhappy with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and about 7 in 10 of those voters backed a Democratic House candidate.
Here are more takeaways from CNN’s preliminary 2022 national and state exit polls.
Voters who valued ‘honesty and integrity’ favored Fetterman
Pennsylvania voters who most valued “honesty and integrity” in their Senate candidate favored Democrat John Fetterman over Republican Mehmet Oz, according to the early results of the Pennsylvania exit poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.
Fetterman also won among voters who said they wanted a candidate who cared about people like them, while Oz won among the smaller bloc of voters who prioritized a candidate sharing their values.
CNN projects that Fetterman will defeat Oz to win the open Pennsylvania Senate race, flipping a Republican-held seat.
A majority of female voters, White college-educated voters, voters of color and political independents in the state supported Fetterman, the exit poll finds, while most male voters and White voters without college degrees supported Oz.
Most voters, about 53%, said they disapproved of President Joe Biden’s job performance. But roughly 14% of those who disapproved of Biden cast their ballots for Fetterman, as did nearly all of those who approved of the president. A slim majority of voters in the state said that Biden was not a factor in their vote, with most also saying former President Donald Trump did not play a role.
Voters were close to evenly split on whether or not Oz’s views were too extreme, while about 53% said Fetterman’s views were not.
Voters in Pennsylvania were closely split over whether Fetterman’s health was good enough to represent the state effectively. Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, suffered a near fatal stroke days before the May Democratic primary.
But a majority of voters said that Oz has not lived in the commonwealth long enough to represent it effectively. Oz has said he moved to Pennsylvania in late 2020 after living in New Jersey for decades.
2:05 a.m. ET Wednesday / Ariel Edwards-Levy and Tami Luhby
Most voters don’t want Biden to run in 2024
More than two-thirds of voters for House candidates don’t want President Joe Biden to run for reelection in 2024, according to the early results of the national exit poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.
More than 7 in 10 independent voters and roughly 9 in 10 Republican voters said they don’t want Biden to be in the 2024 presidential campaign. Fewer than 6 in 10 Democratic voters thought he should run.
Just under 6 in 10 independent voters have an unfavorable view of Biden, and about the same share disapprove of the job he’s doing as president.
Only 1 in 10 Democratic voters have an unfavorable view of the president and slightly more disapprove of his job performance.
More than 9 in 10 GOP voters have an unfavorable view of Biden and disapprove of the job he’s doing.
When it comes to former President Donald Trump, two-thirds of independent voters and more than 9 in 10 Democratic voters have an unfavorable view of him. Just over three-quarters of GOP voters have a favorable view.
Independent voters comprise about a quarter of the electorate, while Democratic voters are roughly one-third and Republican voters are just over one-third of the electorate.
12:59 a.m. ET Wednesday / Tami Luhby
Vance draws support from suburban and rural voters, as well as from men, White voters and older voters
Nearly 6 in 10 suburban voters and nearly the same share of rural voters favored GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance over his Democratic rival, US Rep. Tim Ryan, which helped the Republican clinch the open seat, according to preliminary results of the Ohio exit poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.
Also, nearly 6 in 10 men who cast ballots voted for Vance, about the same share as White voters who picked the GOP candidate. More than half of Buckeye State voters age 45 and older and voters without college degrees opted for Vance, as well.
Ryan was the preferred candidate of just over half of women who voted, college-educated voters and younger voters. Roughly half of independent voters cast ballots for the Democrat. Just under 6 in 10 voters who live in Ohio cities went for Ryan, as did more than three-quarters of voters of color in the state.
Nearly 6 in 10 voters from union households voted for Ryan, according to the exit poll later on Wednesday morning. Initially, the exit poll had shown that about the same share supported Vance.
Voters who said they were most concerned about crime, inflation and immigration broke for Vance, while those who thought abortion and gun policy were top issues selected Ryan.
Vance was the choice of voters who wanted a candidate who shared their values, but Ryan was supported by those looking for a candidate who cares about people like them and a candidate who has honesty and integrity.
1:15 p.m. ET Wednesday / Tami Luhby
About half of New Hampshire voters saw Don Bolduc’s views as ‘too extreme’
About half of New Hampshire voters called Republican Senate candidate Don Bolduc’s views “too extreme,” according to the early results of the New Hampshire exit poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research. Only about 43% said the same of his Democratic rival, incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan.
CNN projects that Hassan will win a second Senate term in New Hampshire, defeating the Trump-backed Bolduc.
President Joe Biden’s job approval rating in the state is negative, per the exit poll, with only about 42% of voters approving. But roughly 1 in 5 Biden disapprovers, nevertheless, cast their vote for Hassan.
Roughly three-quarters of voters in the state – including similar shares of both candidates’ supporters – said that party control of the Senate was very important to their vote.
12:59 a.m. ET Wednesday / Ariel Edwards-Levy
Most voters express at least some confidence in fairness of elections in their states
Nationally, more than 9 in 10 Democrats who voted in this year’s midterms said they were at least somewhat confident that elections in their state were being conducted fairly and accurately, according to early national results of the exit poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research. That’s a level of confidence shared by about 8 in 10 independents, and a smaller two-thirds of Republicans.
While Democrats’ confidence was robust across most key battleground states, Republicans’ views of the election system varied much more significantly by state.
Roughly 8 in 10 Republicans in Florida, New Hampshire, Texas and Ohio said they were confident that their state’s elections were accurate and fair, as did more than 7 in 10 in Georgia, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
But only about 6 in 10 Republicans in Michigan, Nevada and Arizona said they were confident in their state’s elections. And in Pennsylvania, only about half expressed such confidence.
Voters were also deeply concerned about the state of the country’s democracy. About 3 in 10 said that they viewed democracy in the US today as at least somewhat secure, with about two-thirds feeling that democracy in the country is somewhat or very threatened.
Slightly over 6 in 10 voters accepted that Biden legitimately won the presidency in 2020, while slightly over one-third denied the results of that election.
Updated 11:39 p.m. ET / Ariel Edwards-Levy
Voters who disliked both parties broke for Republicans
Most voters in this year’s election view one party positively, and the other negatively – nationally, about 4 in 10 have a favorable view of only the Democratic Party, and a similar share have a favorable view of only the Republican Party, according to the preliminary national results of the exit poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research. Unsurprisingly, these voters almost unanimously supported their favored party in their district’s congressional election.
But there’s also a smaller bloc of voters – about 11% of the electorate, nationwide – who dislike both parties. This group broke in favor of the Republicans, with nearly 6 in 10 favoring a GOP House candidate this year. That’s a shift from 2018, when voters who disliked both parties were about evenly split in their vote.
Voters who were most upset with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade differed from those who felt less profoundly unhappy with the decision, the exit polls show. Those who were angry about the overturning of Roe (about 39% of the electorate) overwhelmingly voted Democratic for the House (about 85% picked the Democratic candidate). Those who were dissatisfied but not angry (about 21% of the electorate) narrowly favored the GOP.
There was also a difference between voters who were most pessimistic about the economy, and those who felt less strongly negative. While nearly 9 in 10 voters who said the economy was poor voted for a GOP House candidate, about 6 in 10 who described the economy as “not so good” backed a Democratic candidate.
To some extent, these divides reflect the partisan differences already baked into views on abortion and the economy. Voters who considered themselves Democrats were roughly 59 points more than voters who considered themselves Republican to say they were angry about Roe v. Wade being overturned. Republicans, meanwhile, were about 28 points likelier than Democrats to call the economy poor.
9:55 p.m. ET / Ariel Edwards-Levy
Florida voters weigh in on Trump and DeSantis
What do Florida voters think about the possibility two Florida men could run for president in 2024? Exit polls from the Sunshine State offer some clues.
With Donald Trump signaling a potential announcement next week, 33% of Florida voters said they want to see the former president run in 2024, according to the preliminary results of the Florida exit poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.
There appears to be more of an appetite for a bid by Ron DeSantis, with 45% of Florida voters saying they want the state’s governor – who CNN projects will win reelection – to seek the presidency in 2024.
DeSantis’ strength is reflected in the Florida exit polls, which show the governor winning Latinos in the state by 13 points. In 2020, Trump trailed Biden among Latino voters in Florida by 7 points. DeSantis also held a slight edge among independents, whom Biden carried in the state by 11 points. Those could be selling points if DeSantis and Trump collide in a 2024 GOP primary.
9:55 p.m. ET / Terence Burlij
Pennsylvania voters are split over Fetterman’s health
Voters in Pennsylvania are split over whether Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman’s health is good enough to represent the state effectively, according to the preliminary results of the Pennsylvania exit poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.
Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, suffered a near-fatal stroke days before he won the May Democratic primary.
But a majority of voters said that Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for Senate, has not lived in the commonwealth long enough to represent it effectively. More than 4 in 10 said he had.
Oz has said he moved to Pennsylvania in late 2020 after living in New Jersey for decades.
Voters also split over which candidate’s views are too extreme with more than 4 in 10 picking Fetterman and the same share selecting Oz.
More than one-third of Pennsylvania voters said that they care most about whether a candidate shares their values and whether a candidate has honesty and integrity. About 2 in 10 said the most important quality is that a candidate cares about people like them. Fewer than one in 10 said having the right experience matters most.
Men and women who cast ballots split their support, with more than half of men voting for Oz and more than half of women voting for Fetterman. Among independent voters, who made up about a quarter of the electorate, more than half voted for Fetterman.
For voters who thought that abortion was the most important issue, more than three quarters supported Fetterman. They made up just over one-third of the electorate.
But among those who said inflation was the most pressing issue, more than three-quarters cast ballots for Oz. They made up more than a quarter of the electorate.
8:44 p.m. ET / Tami Luhby
Vast majority of North Carolina voters think the economy is not in good shape
Roughly 8 in 10 North Carolina voters said the economy is “poor” or “not good,” according to the preliminary results of the North Carolina Exit Poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.
More than three-quarters of voters in the state said inflation has caused them and their family severe or moderate hardship.
About half of those who cast ballots said that President Joe Biden’s policies are hurting the country, while only 35% think they are helping.
About 4 in 10 North Carolina voters approve of Biden, while more than half disapprove.
8:19 p.m. ET / Tami Luhby
Ohio voters think the economy is weak
More than three-quarters of Ohio voters said the nation’s economy was “poor” or “not so good,” according to the preliminary results of the Ohio Exit Poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.
And nearly three-quarters of Buckeye State voters said inflation has caused their family severe or moderate hardship, with nearly 2 in 10 saying their difficulties were severe.
More than half of those who cast ballots said that President Joe Biden’s policies are hurting, while about one-third said they are helping.
The president is not that popular among Ohio voters – more than half disapprove of him, with more than 4 in 10 approving.
7:47 p.m. ET / Tami Luhby
Warnock loses some support among Black and Hispanic Georgians
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia who is locked in tight reelection race with Republican Herschel Walker, lost some support among Black and Hispanic voters in Tuesday’s closely watched election, compared with the special run