A look at voter thinking in Tuesday's presidential election:
WHO VOTED HOW:
OVERALL: George W. Bush won solid majorities of men, whites and the
wealthy. Al Gore was winning among women, blacks, Hispanics and those
earning below $30,000.
FAMILIES: Bush was leading among voters who were married, particularly
those with children; Gore was doing better among those who were not married.
RELIGION: Bush was leading among Protestants, and Gore was leading among
Jews and those who did not identify with any religion. Bush and Gore were
splitting the Catholic vote. The more likely a voter was to attend religious
services, the more likely he or she was to vote for Bush.
PARTY: Bush and Gore each had overwhelming leads among Republicans and
Democrats, respectively. They were running even among independents, with a
small chunk of independent voters favoring Ralph Nader.
LATE DECIDERS: Nearly one in five voters said they made up their minds in
the last week, and Gore had a solid lead with this group. Bush and Gore were
very close among voters who decided earlier.
MODERATES: About half of voters considered themselves politically moderate,
and they favored Gore. More voters called themselves conservative than
liberal; conservatives heavily favored Bush and liberals heavily favored
UNIONS: About one in four voters came from a union household, and a solid
majority of them were supporting Gore.
CLINTON VOTERS: Gore was holding on to the vast majority of those who voted
for President Clinton in 1996, though Bush was doing better among Clinton
voters than Gore was doing among those who voted for Republican Bob Dole.
Bush also won the lion's share of those who supported Reform Party nominee
Ross Perot in 1996.
ISSUES AND QUALITIES:
MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES: Bush was winning among voters who cared most about
world affairs and taxes. Gore was winning among voters who cared most about
Medicare/prescription drugs, Social Security, health care, economy/jobs and
MOST IMPORTANT QUALITIES: Bush was winning among voters who cared most
about a candidate being honest, a strong leader and having good judgment in
a crisis. Gore was winning those who cared most about someone who ``cares
about people like me,'' who has the right experience and who understands
ISSUES OR PERSONALITY?: A solid majority of voters said a candidate's
position on issues was more important to them than leadership and personal
BUSH-DRUNKEN DRIVING: About one in four voters said the revelation last
week of Bush's 1976 arrest for drunken driving was very or somewhat
important to their vote. Those voters went overwhelmingly for Gore.
SAY ANYTHING?: Voters were more likely to believe that Gore would say
anything to get elected than that Bush would. But a large chunk of voters -
about four in 10 - thought they both would.
SMART ENOUGH?: Voters were more likely to believe that Gore had the
knowledge needed to serve effectively as president than they were to think
the same of Bush.
HONEST ENOUGH?: More voters thought Bush was honest and trustworthy enough
to be president than felt that way about Gore.
RESERVATIONS: Four in 10 voters had reservations about their choice for
president. Gore's supporters were more likely to have reservations about
their vote than were Bush voters.
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS: Voters were slightly more likely to believe that Gore
would do a good job handling an international crisis.
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Asked how the government should help senior citizens
pay for their prescriptions, a majority preferred increased financing for
Medicare, which Gore has proposed. Gore voters favored that plan
overwhelmingly, while Bush voters more narrowly supported providing money
for seniors to buy private insurance coverage - Bush's proposal.
SOCIAL SECURITY: A majority of voters supported allowing individuals to
invest some of their Social Security taxes in the stock market, as Bush
proposed, and two-thirds of those voters backed Bush.
MILITARY: Almost half of voters thought the U.S. military has become weaker
since Clinton took office; more than one-third believed it stayed about the
same. Bush's voters overwhelmingly said it was worse, while Gore supporters
were divided on the question.
COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATIVE?: Bush's effort to position himself as a
compassionate conservative appeared to have made inroads. About half of
voters said his positions on the issues were about right; about a third said
he was too conservative.
FAMILY FINANCES: Half the voters said their personal finances were better
now than four years ago, and they overwhelmingly voted for Gore. Most other
voters said things were about the same, and these voters favored Bush by
CLINTON CREDIT?: About two in three voters said the Clinton administration
was very or somewhat responsible for the good economy, and they favored
Gore. Those who didn't give the administration much credit were
overwhelmingly in Bush's camp.
STEALING FROM GORE?: About half of Nader voters said they would have voted
for Gore if it had been a two-way race. But about one in three said they
simply would not have voted in a two-way race.
Bush voters were more likely than Gore voters to say they were excited about
what their candidate would do as president. Among voters on both sides,
about half said they would be scared if the other candidate won.
SCANDALS OR LEADERSHIP?: Two-thirds of voters said Clinton would be
remembered more for his scandals than his leadership. Yet a majority said
they approved of the way Clinton handled his job as president.
INFLUENCE ON VOTE: A little more than half said Clinton administration
scandals weren't important to their vote. But those who called the scandals
very or somewhat important went heavily for Bush. About seven in 10 Bush
voters called the scandals important.
About one-third of Bush voters said one reason for their vote was to oppose
Clinton, but far more - about six in 10 Bush voters - said Clinton wasn't a
ROLE OF GOVERNMENT:
BUSINESS OR GOVERNMENT?: A majority of voters thought government is doing
too many things better left to businesses and individuals, and they strongly
favored Bush. The four out of 10 who said government should do more to solve
problems heavily favored Gore.
DIVIDED GOVERNMENT?: A majority of voters said it's better for the country
if the president and Congress are of the same party.
PRESIDENT'S FIRST JOB: About three in 10 voters said the first thing the new
president should do is improve education, and a majority of them voted for
Gore. About a fourth of voters said cutting taxes was job No. 1, and they
overwhelmingly chose Bush. Another fourth made strengthening Social Security
the priority, and as a group they leaned toward Gore.
Voters were interviewed as they left the polls by Voter News Service, a
consortium of the AP and the television networks. Early results were based
on interviews with 8,364 voters as they left their polling places. The
results have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points,
higher for subgroups.