The results become more understandable when we note the issues voters said mattered most to them. The economy topped the list, with 43 percent saying it was the main issue. And third on the list was the national debt, listed by 15 percent.
With few exceptions, modern national elections have been predictable by the state of the economy in the months leading up to the election. When the economy is bad – or even when voters perceive it as bad – the party most in power loses seats in Congress. Since we've been through the worst downturn in 70 years, with unemployment still at nearly 10 percent, it was inevitable Democrats would lose seats this year.
But add to that the widespread belief that President Obama and his congressional allies badly misread their mandate. They tacked much too far left much too quickly and grew government's scope and cost with breathtaking audacity. That's why the crushing national debt is so high on the list of concerns – it's the way people keep score of what government is up to.
So it's not surprising analysts generally say Republicans will probably retake the House and even have a shot at the Senate. One thing in the survey that might surprise some people is that “moral direction of the country” was the No. 2 issue among respondents, named as the top issue by 20 percent. This is supposed to be the year economic issues squeeze out “values” issues, even among those extremist tea partiers.
But morals and values are always important to Hoosiers, even when they talk more about other things. And isn't profligacy – wildly out of control on spending, no idea how to pay for it – a moral issue?