Nightly News   |  November 01, 2010

Voters motivated by jobs, ‘limited government’

NBC’s Chuck Todd talks about what voters have in mind as they head to the polls.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: And tonight we know more about the voters heading into the polls tomorrow, and what motivates Decision 2010 from our new NBC News / Wall Street Journal election eve poll. And with that, debuting the numbers tonight, our political director Chuck Todd is here. Where is this election, if you can say so?

CHUCK TODD reporting: Sure.

WILLIAMS: And where's the electorate?

TODD: Well, first of all, let's remember how historic this election is about to be. Whether Republicans win 30 seats, 40 seats, 50 seats, we are a third straight change election. This has happened exactly once this generation. It hasn't happened since right after World War II ; before that, Great Depression . Very tumultuous electorate. They're very concerned about the future of the country. It's not just about their job, it's about whether their children are going to have a job. Now, that's the big backdrop. Let's look at the numbers. In the control of Congress , Republicans have a 49-43 lead at this point among likely voters. Well, translate that to the national vote tomorrow night, what that means is a minimum 50-seat pickup that we're looking at for Republicans in the House level. And if undecideds break for Republicans , that's why you're hearing smart analysts like Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg , who was in the last piece there with Savannah , say maybe 70 seats is there. Now, we did ask them, 'Send us a message. Tell us what message you would love to send with your vote tomorrow.' Well, most people said, 'Tell these members of Congress to focus on jobs and the economy.'

TODD: However, look at what Republicans and tea party members said. They said, 'Yes, we're focused on the economy, but we also want you to return to the principles of the Constitution . Now, what this means is limited government .

TODD: These -- they're using this language, though, about the Constitution because they didn't like health care.


TODD: They didn't like the expanded government. And that is sort of the backdrop. That's what 's motivating the tea party . What's motivating a lot of voters is the economy, but this back and forth that the new members of Congress are going to have to deal with, satisfying the tea party folks when it comes to limited government but also figuring out if they have to spend more money on the economy, can those two work together? Can these two sides, two thoughts work together? That's going to be the challenge.

WILLIAMS: Chuck Todd on the big picture with 24 hours to go until our coverage of the election tomorrow night. And we'll see you here, as well, a big part of it.

TODD: You bet.

WILLIAMS: Chuck Todd , thanks.