ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Republican Thad Cochran, in winning a seventh term in the U.S. Senate, fared well among those who disapproved of President Barack Obama’s performance and who felt the economy has been getting worse, according to final results of exit polling conducted for The Associated Press and television networks.
Cochran surmounted a bitter GOP primary against tea party favorite Chris McDaniel to reach the general election in which he bested Democrat Travis Childers and independent Shawn O’Hara.
Mississippi has not had a Democrat in the U.S. Senate since Ronald Reagan was in the White House.
Here are some results from exit polling yesterday in Mississippi:
WHO LIKED THAD: Whites and conservatives, the traditional Republican base, voted heavily for Cochran. People in their 40s and over 65, white evangelical or white born-again Christians and those who say the economy is getting worse and disapprove of President Barrack Obama’s running of the country also supported Cochran.
TEA PARTY: Voters identifying with the tea party, which had backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel against Cochran in the GOP primary in June turned to Cochran in the general election. Eight of 10 people who supported Cochran said they identified strongly with the tea party. Seven of 10 who said they opposed the tea party backed Childers.
OBAMA: Sixty-one percent of voters expressed displeasure with President Barack Obama’s running of the country. Eighty-four percent of them supported Cochran. Childers got 87 percent of the vote among the 38 percent who approved. Charles Shelton, 65, retired from auto supply worker who works part-time at Wal-Mart in Forest, said he voted for Childers to give the president some help. Shelton said he did not think of the election as a referendum on the Obama agenda. “He’s trying to tough it out himself. He’s doing the best he can but he needs some help up there. I am all for the president. He’s doing a great job, but we must help him…. He’s trying to do what’s right for the entire country.”
ECONOMY: Mississippi’s employers added 6,000 jobs to their payrolls in September and the state’s unemployment rate fell again, although it remained the second-highest in the nation at 7.7 percent. More than half the voters said they were very worried about the economy, and seven out of 10 of those voted for Cochran.
THE PARTIES: People who supported Childers liked the Democratic Party; those who support Cochran liked the Republican Party.
AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE ACT: Voters were particularly dissatisfied with the health overhaul that Obama signed into law in 2010. Eighty-two percent of Cochran’s voters said the 2010 health care overhaul went too far. Nearly half — 47 percent — of Childers’ voters said the overhaul was about right, 35 percent said it didn’t go far enough.
The exit poll of 941 Mississippi voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research in a random sample of 15 precincts statewide. Results were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.
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