While some congressional races are still not resolved and a clear national message from voters is difficult to determine, one thing we do know after Tuesday’s elections is that divided government is coming back to Washington, D.C. Voters are returning the House of Representatives to Democrat control, and, while not for certain, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appears poised to claim the Speaker’s gavel once again. Meanwhile, voters gave victories to a number of Republicans seeking Senate seats, and the GOP will be expanding its margin in that chamber in 2019.
Exit polls show that of those who self-identify as Protestant (25 percent of the overall voting population), 61 percent voted for Republicans. Those who are white and who identify themselves as born again or evangelical Christian made up 26 percent of all voters, and 75 percent of that set voted for Republicans. However, those who claimed no religion (the “nones”) had a 17 percent share of the vote – up from 12 percent in the 2014 midterm election. The nones this year voted 70 percent for Democrats.
Among all faiths, those who attend religious services weekly (32 percent of the participating electorate) voted 58 percent for Republicans and 40 percent for Democrats.
Members of Congress will return to the nation’s capital next week to sort through the ramifications of this election, work toward finishing 2018 business, and choose chamber leaders for the new Congress. Perhaps as a harbinger of things to come, Pelosi this week emphasized checks and balances. She declared, “That’s a responsibility we have when we take that oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and we, as Democrats, are here to strengthen the institution in which we serve and not to have it be a rubber stamp for President Trump.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations