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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

EMILY's List: 'The Mid-Term Elections and Implications for 2008'

Republicans lost on many fronts last month, but one of the untold post-election analysis stories is the GOP's failure to keep the voters who won them a majority of voters in 2004 and what this defection means for both parties moving forward, according a national organization that advocates to elect Democratic women.

EMILY's List today released a national post-election survey, conducted by the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, that paints a clear picture of the ground gained by Democrats and the factors driving a critical group of voters identified by the study as "Bush Defectors" -- those who voted for Bush in 2004 but did not vote Republican for Congress in 2006. What these voters do in 2008 could decide the outcome of the next presidential race and begs important questions: Who are they? What drove them away from Bush and the Republicans? What are they looking for in a presidential candidate?

Last spring, the EMILY's List Women's Monitor first identified this "Bush defection" trend, which was particularly visible among women who had voted for Bush in 2004; at the time (May 2005) one- third of these women were not planning to vote GOP for Congress in the 2006 elections.

The current Women's Monitor tracks this important story line with a final, post-election assessment of both the size of and the reasons behind this shift, while also looking ahead at these Bush-defecting voters in terms of what they are looking for and thinking about as the country prepares to elect a new president in 2008.

Other key findings of the study include:

-- The Democrats' sweep of last month's midterm elections in part was a result of their greatly improved standing among voters in terms of communicating the force of basic values. On values that Bush dominated in 2004, Democrats made significant inroads in 2006 and were successful in shifting this values terrain back to a more competitive playing field.

-- The Republican Party has been left in a position of having to rebuild and re-establish its core identity with voters. At the same time, Democrats have made meaningful improvements in terms of voters' images of the party on key considerations involving competence and leadership.

-- Overwhelmingly, voters say they are looking for a specific set of qualities in their next president and keeping America safe from terrorism remains steadfastly at the top of their list. National security has not disappeared from voters' agenda, instead the parties appear for the first time to be on a more even playing field in talking about security issues with a majority of voters saying both Democrats and Republicans are in line with their own views.


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