Exit polls suggest early GOP edge
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The midterm electorate is broadly pessimistic about the economy and dissatisfied with Congress as a whole, according to early exit polls.

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The early surveys of voters leaving polling places nationwide also give Democrats a slight turnout edge, 37 percent to Republicans’ 34 percent, with 29 percent identifying as independents. They suggest, however, that Republican base voters are turning out in far stronger numbers than the Democratic base: 36 percent of those polled identified as conservative while only 23 percent identified as liberal. Forty percent identified as moderate.

They show the electorate is about three-fourths white, in line with demographic breakdowns from similar cycles.

Those numbers will change as the night wears on. But they offer a preliminary snapshot of an electorate fed up with Washington and down on the president, potentially troubling sentiments for Democrats, despite their early turnout edge. And of the most important issues that have defined the  midterms in the final weeks, exit polls appear to be breaking in favor of Republicans.

Fifty-four percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s job performance, while 44 percent approve.

The exit polls confirm that despite a late focus in many races on national security, the economy remains the top concern for a plurality of Americans.

Forty-five percent named the economy as their most important issue, while 25 percent named healthcare and 13 percent chose immigration.

A large majority of Americans — 69 percent — rate the state of the economy negatively, and about a third each say it’s getting better and worse. Still, 78 percent say they’re worried about the country’s economic conditions. And another 65 percent say the country is on the wrong track overall.

That could be troubling for Democrats if Republicans have been successful in laying the blame for the state of the economy at their feet, as they’ve been attempting to do in races across the nation this cycle.

But the nation rates Congress far worse than the president, with 79 percent disapproving of the job Congress has done, suggesting incumbents from both parties could be in for a rough night.

Of the two secondary issues — healthcare and immigration reform — healthcare may break against Democrats, because a plurality of Americans say ObamaCare goes too far. Immigration, however, may be a boost for them, because 58 percent of Americans support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a position most often associated with the Democratic Party.

Americans also widely support the current military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but 50 percent disapprove of the U.S. response to Ebola. And 72 percent of Americans say they’re worried about a major terrorist attack, suggesting Republicans who have made national security the focal point of their races in the final stretch may stand to benefit from that strategy on election night.