Washington (CNN) – The 2010 midterm elections rocked President Obama and the Democrats' majority in the House of Representatives, but they also shook the electorate in a historic way. Exit polls conducted by CNN reveal big changes for traditional Democratic voters that may signal a shift unlike any we've seen before.
This November, less than half of women voters selected Democrats for Congress, 49 percent, and 48 percent broke for Republicans. This ties 2002 as the lowest ever female vote for Democrats. Conversely, the male vote for Republicans was the highest ever. Fifty-six percent of men voted for Republican candidates, setting another record for the GOP. Forty-two percent of men voted for Democrats.
Nationwide, 58 percent of voters 65 and over voted Republican while 40 percent voted Democratic. That's a new high for Republicans, who can now boast about receiving the highest number of votes from seniors, men, and a new demographic-blue collar voters.
Traditionally, blue collar voters are thought to prefer Democrats. In 2010, this changed, with 62 percent of white non-college graduates voting for Republican candidates and 35 percent choosing Democrats. This is the highest ever blue collar vote for the GOP.
Whether this is a trend that will continue or is simply a one hit wonder for Republicans remains to be seen, but if the Democrats want to be competitive for 2012, it is something worthy of attention.
Exit polls are surveys of a small percentage of voters taken after they leave their voting place. Pollsters use this data to project how all voters or segments of voters side on a particular race or ballot measure.