"That was the key to the McConnell victory in a race that quite rankly many people thought would be close," John King said on CNN.
But perhaps just as indicative of the outcome was the poll result among the 19 percent of voters who said in the exit poll that they are independents. Among them, McConnell won 54-39.
McConnell's leadership position and potential also figured into the vote. Asked if party control of the Senate was important to their vote, 86 percent said yes. McConnell carried that group, 55-43.
Grimes carried self-described moderates 52-44, but McConnell carried conservatives 87-10. Grimes carried liberals 81-16, but they were only 19 percent of the electorate.
Grimes ran hard on raising the minimum wage, and she appeared to win among people with annual incomes under $30,000, 53 percent to 41 percent. But McConnell won all other income groups. When grouped above and below $50,000, voters under that figure were evenly divided.
Grimes apparently carried only one age group, those voters 25 to 29, and her 52-43 margin among them was not certain because they only made up 9 percent of the electorate. McConnell's best age group was voters in their 40s, which he won 63-34.
One of the best predictors of a person's vote by party is how often they attend religious services, and the national pattern was reflected Tuesday. McConnell ran away with those who attend at least weekly (they made up 48 percent of the electorate) while Grimes appeared to win among occasional worshippers and the 13 percent who said they never attend services.
Among the approximately half of the electorate who identify as white evangelicals or born-again Christians, McConnell won 68-30. Grimes won the rest 55-43.
Gun-owning households (64 percent of the electorate) went for McConnell 6630, while those without guns went for Grimes 61-37.
McConnell won all the regions identified by the poll except his home Jefferson County, which he lost 57-41. The poll report on CNN did not give the margin of error for such sub-samples or the overall poll.
McConnell's main theme was to tie Grimes to President Obama. King noted that 62 percent in the poll said they were angry or dissatisfied with the Obama administration, and McConnell won that group, 80-17. Grimes carried those who were satisfied or enthusiastic, 84-14. Forty percent said Here's a video of King's report on the poll's preliminary results, some of which vary from the final numbers: