After all of the campaign ads, the promises, the debates and the rhetoric, it turns out the fragile state of our economy inspired millions of Americans to hit the polls, according to exit-poll data collected by CNN throughout Election Day.
CNN reports that, of the people they surveyed, a whopping 62 percent said the country's current and future financial woes were the chief reason they waited in long lines for their shot behind the curtain. Nationwide, 10 percent of respondents pointed to the war in Iraq, and of those voters, most voted for Obama in all states but two.
Meanwhile, 9 percent of voters said the threat of terrorism, and our country's response to such aggression, was the top issue for them in this year's election, and, of those surveyed, 86 percent supported Senator John McCain's candidacy. Health care was another motivating issue for voters, with 9 percent saying it was the top issue weighing on their minds.
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and
Engagement (also known as CIRCLE), which promotes research on the civic and political engagement of Americans between the ages of 15 and 25, claims that voters between the ages of 18 and 29 represented 18 percent of all voters on Tuesday; that's one point higher than in 1996, 2000 and 2004, when young voters represented 17 percent of voters. More precise data on the youth share of the vote will be released Wednesday (November 5).
While CNN's exit-poll results give a strong indication of national voting trends, MTV's viewers have been logging on to the Newsroom blog to tell us why they voted this year.
A user named TES said, "I voted because I'm tired of what this country has become, and we need to restore it; we need to get out of this war, [we need] better education, [and we need] more jobs. I honestly don't feel McCain is the right choice."
XkarieX told us she voted this year because of the sheer historic importance behind it. "We need a strong, smart and dedicated leader to get our country on the right path, and in my heart, I believe that McCain is the right choice." Meanwhile, valshatraw tells us she voted for the person she thought would be able to help improve America's economy, "and give a tax break to us poor folk, who don't make anywhere near $250,000 a year...who live paycheck to paycheck."
Qtprincess01, 26, said she didn't vote on the basis of race, even though she is black. "I voted because I would like to be able to afford a house, gas, and live in a productive, stable economy," she wrote. "McCain has yet to say what his tactics are for helping me want to reach those goals I have. He is too busy focusing on Barack. Obama has stated many times his tactics, strategies and even has them listed on his Web site. This is the kind of leader I want." MikeI'maMartianDavis08 said he voted "because I felt it was time for a change and I wanted my voice to be heard."
The war in Iraq was a crucial issue for honyok3cidb, who voted "because I am sick and tired of the world thinking that Americans are war-loving mongrels who will blow up anyone who gets in their way, for climate change and to show that I do have a voice — you can't silence me." For Cookie9808, she voted for the McCain/Palin ticket because "I want to keep my hard-earned money that I, myself, deserve" and "because Roe vs. Wade needs to be overturned."
Anamerican simply voted because of the soldiers who've been fighting to protect the right of all Americans to have their voices heard. "Soldiers can't have an excuse for not performing their duty and risk their lives each so there's no good excuse for me not to vote," the commenter wrote. "Thousands of soldiers patriotically have lost their lives in the war to preserve our freedoms. The least I can do is vote. It's the best way to say 'Thanks, your sacrifice has not been in vain.' "
For all of those reasons and more, Americans flocked to the polls to make their voices heard.
MTV News was on the ground in all 50 states to cover this historic election, and now we want to hear from you! Share your voting experience and your reaction to the results in the comments area below, upload video at yourhere.mtv.com, or text VOTE to 66333 with your first name, age, state and comment.