CNN is offering the first tidbits from nationwide exit polls. The news is mostly bad for Republicans, who have to hope that the election won't be a referendum on George W. Bush. By a nearly 2-to-1 margin, voters are saying that national concerns rather than local issues were most important to them. Which national issues? Corruption leads the list with 42 percent, followed closely by terrorism, the economy and Iraq.
With high-profile convictions in the Jack Abramoff case, one would expect voters concerned about "corruption" in Washington to vote pretty overwhelmingly for the Democrats. As for voters concerned about terrorism and Iraq? Time was, those issues would have been owned by the GOP. But recent polls have shown that more Americans think the Democrats can handle Iraq better than the Republicans have, and CNN is reporting that its exit poll respondents said that the members of both parties are capable of dealing with the threat of terrorism.
Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.