Tea Party Goes Two for Three

Delaware Senate - O'Donnell, Coons CBS/ AP

Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET

CBS projects that Republican Marco Rubio is the winner of the Florida Senate race. Rubio's victory, along with Rand Paul's victory in the Kentucky Senate race, give the Tea Party two resounding wins so far on Election Night.

In Delaware, however, Democrat Chris Coons is the projected winner, defeating Republican and Tea Party-favorite Christine O'Donnell. And in the closely-fought Senate contest in West Virginia, Democrat Joe Manchin is the projected winner, defeating Republican John Raese.

Rubio managed to fend off his Democratic opponent Kendrick Meek, as well as a formidable challenge from independent candidate Charlie Crist, whom Rubio defeated in the Republican primary. By 8:30 p.m. ET, Rubio held a solid 50 percent of the vote, while Crist garnered 29 percent and Meek won 20 percent.

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West Virginia Senate Election

In Delaware, Coons carried 64 percent of the vote as of 8:30 p.m. while O'Donnell took 33 percent. Manchin, meanwhile, took 54 percent of the vote in West Virginia by 8:30, while Raese won 43 percent.

Republicans also won a meaningful victory on the House side, where Republican Robert Hurt is the projected winner in the race for Virginia's fifth district. At 8:30, Hurt led Democratic incumbent Tom Perriello 52 percent to 46 percent. Perriello ran unabashedly on his record of supporting President Obama's agenda, and his re-election bid was considered something of an indicator as to whether the Obama supporters who voted in 2008 would mobilize again this year.

The GOP also pulled off a victory in the New Hampshire Senate race, where Republican Kelly Ayotte is the projected winner. Republican Rob Portman is the estimated winner in the Ohio Senate race, Republican Richard Burr is projected to win the North Carolina Senate race, and Republican Dan Coats the projected winner in the Indiana Senate race. Republican John Boozman is projected to win the Arkansas Senate seat, and Republican Johnny Isakson will win the Georgia Senate race.

Republicans also picked up a seat in North Dakota, where John Hoeven is easily the projected winner for the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan.

Democrats saw some good news in Connecticut, where Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal is projected to defeat Republican Linda McMahon, and in Maryland, where Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski is the projected winner in her re-election bid.

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy is the estimated winner in Vermont, and Republican Sen. Jim DeMint is the projected winner in South Carolina.

As polls continue to close across the country, Republicans are poised to win back dozens of congressional seats and possibly regain control of the House. The new balance of power will present a challenge for the president as he attempts to continue with his agenda through the second half of his term, and it will give voters renewed expectations for progress in Washington.

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Republicans need to gain 39 seats in the House to win control and 10 in the Senate. Voters may be willing to put the GOP back in power after growing impatient with the poor economy and high unemployment rates that have lingered under Democratic control.

CBS News' preliminary exit polling today showed that voters are disillusioned with Mr. Obama and even more so with Congress.

President Obama and the Democrats have managed to pass several pieces of legislation in the past two years -- including major packages like health care reform -- but nevertheless face poor approval ratings from voters. For instance, nearly half of voters surveyed nationally in today's preliminary exit polling -- 48 percent -- said health care reform should be repealed.

Democrats have also struggled to mobilize their core supporters this year the way Republicans have. Today's preliminary exit polling shows that African-American voters -- who overwhelmingly support President Obama -- represent 10 percent of voters this year, compared with 13 percent in 2008. Hispanics represent 8 percent of voters this year, and 66 percent are voting Democratic. Additionally, just 9 percent of voters are in between the ages of 18 and 29, compared with 18 percent of voters in 2008. Among those young voters, 58 percent are voting Democratic.

Independents make up 28 percent of voters this year, according to the preliminary exit polling, and 56 percent of them are voting Republican. Just 39 percent are voting Democratic. Fifty-five percent of men surveyed are voting Republican, while 43 percent are voting Democratic. Among women, 49 percent are voting Democratic, and 48 percent are voting Republican.

Indiana's independent vote was particularly important for Mr. Obama in 2008, when voters helped him become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state in 45 years. In 2008, 54 percent of independents voted for Mr. Obama, while 43 percent voted for McCain. This year, however, preliminary exit polling shows 60 percent of independents supporting Coats, the Republican, and just 32 percent voting for Ellsworth.

Anxious for results out of Washington, about three in four voters said in a recent CBS News poll they want Republicans and Mr. Obama to compromise with each other. Voters also want a fresh start: As many as 80 percent of likely voters in a recent CBS News poll said that most members of Congress should be replaced with someone new.

A new Congress, however, may just mean stronger ideological divisions. A number of conservative candidates like Paul surged to success by refusing to compromise their political principles and winning the support of groups like the Tea Party. In Kentucky, preliminary exit polling shows that 43 percent of voters were Tea Party supporters, including 24 percent who were strong supporters.
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