National issues weighed more heavily than local ones in the decisions of voters Tuesday, according to interviews with voters leaving the polls.
The economy was the most important factor, followed closely by terrorism and the Iraq war, the voters said. In their votes for Congressional candidates, nearly three-quarters of voters said corruption and scandal in government were extremely important in deciding how to cast their ballots.
The majority of voters disapprove of the war in Iraq, according to the exit poll interviews, and believe the U.S. should withdraw some or all troops from Iraq.
While President Bush was a central character in the contentious midterm election campaign, only about one-third of those interviewed said they cast their votes as a way to show opposition to him. About the same number of voters said the president did not factor into their decision on Tuesday, while about one in five voters said they viewed their vote as a way to support the White House.
The president’s sagging popularity provided a theme for the campaign, and about six in 10 voters said they disapproved of how Mr. Bush is handling his job.