I know you're tired of hearing about the election. But I wanted to summarize some of the information I've heard/read about the election results and offer some opinion.
On election day, I listened to Dave Ramsey. For those of you who don't know, he runs a radio program about financial management. He is big on getting out of debt and talks to people daily who are over their heads, looking at bankruptcy or just sick and tired of being sick and tired. He's on the local Christian radio station, and he speaks from a Christian perspective, but he speaks to people of all faiths and people of no faith.
Ramsey's program on Tuesday was devoted to asking people who they voted for and why. If someone said they thought their candidate was better, he wanted to know what issues made them better. In doing so, he discouraged any arguments based on age or race. From my unscientific viewpoint, the calls were pretty much balanced between the two candidates with a sprinkling of calls for third party candidates.
There were three messages that I heard repeated several times: 1) Obama represents a change from the policies of Bush, 2) Obama is better able to handle the economy and 3) McCain will move the country pro-life, Obama pro-abortion.
The interesting thing about the last comment is that it didn't come out strongly during the months before the election. If McCain's strongest asset was his pro-life view, he evidently didn't have widespread support. More people are either pro-abortion, ambivalent or weak on the abortion stance.
Regarding the first argument (change & McCain = Bush), it's obvious that Obama got his message across. However, I would argue that this isn't a real issue. The people calling in to the program couldn't specify what they wanted changed or how McCain was a continuation of Bush.
The economy is the issue that seemed to carry the most weight. There were a few callers who believed that Obama's policies were socialist. There were more who liked his economic ideas. This reminds me of a time when the American people cared more about the economy than anything else. The result was the most morally corrupt president in our 200+ years. The result was a booming economy and a free-wheeling spirit. As a result of that free-wheeling, we've had at least two economic collapses and terrorist attacks (see this list).
Since 9/11, there has not been an attack on US soil. On 9/12/2001, almost everyone believed we would have continued attacks. The attacks overseas have reduced greatly. Why didn't voters think about this and cast their vote accordingly? A year ago, Iraq was a big issue. Today I heard that soldiers are coming home TWO MONTHS earlier than even Bush predicted. It's clear that we will be out of Iraq soon regardless what the next president does. Given these two facts, I think a continuation of Bush's policies wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.