Exit polls show voters worried about the economy, and the country

Exit polls should be viewed with a critical eye.  The interview process is haphazard and actually skews a little left, given that many GOP voters won't talk to pollsters at all.

Still, as a snapshot of voter mood immediately after they cast their ballot, exit polls are a useful gauge to judge the emotional temperature of the electorate.

The Fox News exit poll reveals a country worried about the economy, the future, and the leadership in Washington.

Some data:

Nationally, a third of all voters said opposition to the president was a reason for their in vote in House races, while only 20 percent expressed support for Obama in their choice of candidate. 

Reason for U.S. House Vote

Support Obama           19 percent
Oppose Obama           33 percent
Not A Factor               45 percent

Meanwhile, there is a sense among voters that the economy continues to struggle: 70 percent rate the country's current economic condition as not good or poor, while 28 percent say the economy is in good condition and only 1 percent calls it excellent. 

Condition of Nation’s Economy

Excellent                                   1 percent
Good                                       28 percent
Not good                                 48 percent
Poor                                        22 percent

Just over three-quarters of Americans -- 77 percent -- are at least somewhat worried about the direction of the nation’s economy in the next year, while 22 percent said they were not too worried or not at all worried. 

Worried About Future of U.S. Economy?

Very                37 percent
Somewhat        40 percent
Not too            18 percent
Not at all           4 percent

More than a quarter say their family’s financial situation has gotten better over the past two years, while a similar number say their situation has gotten worse. Those who say it has gotten better supported the Democratic candidate for Congress by a 60 percent to 38 percent margin. Those who say it has gotten worse went for the Republican candidate, 67 percent to 31 percent.

Financial Situation

Gotten better               29 percent
Gotten worse              25 percent
Same                          45 percent

All of that leads to a sense the country is on the wrong track. Only 31 percent say the economy is going in the right direction, down from 46 percent in 2012.  Most voters -- 65 percent -- believe the country is on the wrong track. Voters who think things are on the wrong track backed the Republican candidate in their district by a 65 percent to 30 percent margin.

Direction of the Country 

Right               31 percent
Wrong            65 percent

This pessimism extends to attitudes toward life for the next generation of Americans. Nearly half think life for their children will be worse than life today, while only 22 percent say it will be better.

Life for Next Generation

Better than today                    22 percent
Worse than today                   48 percent
About the same                      27 percent

I've rarely seen America so pessimistic, perhaps not since the late 1970s.  Then, Ronald Reagan stepped forward, and in a few short years, most of us wondered why we felt that way to begin with.

A candidate for president who tells the country what's really wrong and exhibits a sunny, optimistic disposition about tackling those problems will probably prevail in 2016.

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