Culture is king.
It is really this simple.
“This year they didn’t. According to the national media exit poll, of the 31% of voters who identify as independent, 49% voted Democrat and 47% Republican. In the AP VoteCast survey, independents favored Democrats by four points. …
The results are worse for Republicans in key races. In Arizona, 40% of voters in the Senate race identified as independent in an exit poll, and of those, 55% voted for Democrat Mark Kelly and 39% for Republican Blake Masters, who lost a winnable race.
In Pennsylvania, 24% of voters identified as independent and an amazing 58% of them voted for the left-wing Democrat John Fetterman compared to 38% for Mehmet Oz. Ditto in Georgia, where 24% of voters identified as independent and Democrat Raphael Warnock won 53% of them compared to 42% for Herschel Walker. In New Hampshire, 43% of voters call themselves independents and 54% of them voted for Democrat Maggie Hassan over Republican Donald Bolduc. …”
The polls all had Republicans winning Independent voters by a large margin which is why everyone expected a good to great night for the GOP, but that is not what happened anywhere.
“Undercutting the GOP advantage was that independents favored Democrats by 4 points nationally, the survey found, and by a far more substantial 18 points in Pennsylvania, 28 points in Georgia and more than 30 points in Arizona. …
Where Republicans won in high-profile races, they were sometimes helped by a favorable voter mix in the electorate. In North Carolina, Republicans outnumbered Democrats by 7 percentage points in the midterm voter pool, and the victorious GOP Rep. Ted Budd limited his loss among independents to 9 points, a narrower deficit than for many other GOP Senate candidates. …
He said that was the case in places such as Arizona and accounts for why GOP Senate nominee Blake Masters, who aligned himself with Mr. Trump’s false claims of election fraud and said he would support national abortion restrictions, not only lost independent voters by more than 30 points but also forfeited 14% of Republicans to his rival, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, who won. By contrast, only 2% of Democrats backed Mr. Masters, AP VoteCast found. …
Mr. Oz lost independent voters by 19 points. Some 8% of Republicans backed his victorious opponent, John Fetterman, more than the share of Democrats who supported his campaign …”
The impact varied by state.
In swing states where Republicans outnumber Democrats like Georgia and North Carolina and there was a powerful Republican turnout, this tilt among Independents wasn’t as decisive.
In other swing states where Democrats and Independents are a much larger share of the electorate like New Hampshire or Arizona, it made all the difference. 40% of voters in Arizona are Independents and 55% of them voted for Mark Kelly. Only 33% of voters in Arizona are Republicans.
Cultural differences insulate the South. The electorate in every Southern state is much more Republican and significantly more conservative than in Northern and Western states. 83% of White evangelical Protestants voted Republican. The backlash against the Dobbs decision was muted in the South because White evangelicals are concentrated here and were pleased with it and energized by it. Blacks and Hispanics don’t care about abortion. It was a peculiar kind of White voter who was upset about abortion. There are just fewer of those people in racially diverse, heavily Protestant states like Alabama.
Beto O’Rourke lost by 11 points in Texas. Maggie Hassan won by 9 points in New Hampshire. The electorate was 91% White in New Hampshire. It was 62% White in Texas. Chris Sununu won by over 15 points in New Hampshire. Obviously, New Hampshire voters split their ticket and voted for their pro-choice Republican governor and their pro-choice Democrat senator to own Donald Trump.