Highlights of Super Tuesday exit poll results - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Highlights of Super Tuesday exit poll results

Highlights from preliminary results of exit polling in the Super Tuesday primary states for The Associated Press and television networks:

RACE AND GENDER

In the Democratic races, Barack Obama led with eight in 10 black voters and Hillary Rodham Clinton led with just over half of whites. Obama's support among four in 10 whites across 16 states was more than he had captured in earlier primary states. Overall, Obama led among white men, while Clinton led among white women.

Clinton won six in 10 Hispanic voters, a crucial group that helped her win in California and Arizona. Clinton won the support of seven in 10 Hispanics and Asians in California.

Obama won in Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, and his home state of Illinois, all states where more than one-fifth of the voters were black, and he won Connecticut, where he tied Clinton among whites. Clinton won in Arkansas, Massachusetts, New York, and Oklahoma, states with fewer black voters, but she also won in Tennessee and New Jersey, both states where one-fourth of the voters were black.

Overall, Obama led among men and Clinton led among women, although her advantage among women appeared smaller than was seen in early primary states. An exception was New York, which Clinton represents in the Senate. There, she won among men and gained the support of four in 10 blacks. 

In the Republican races, John McCain led among men. He was tied with Mitt Romney among women. 

CONSERVATIVES AND MODERATES

John McCain led among Republicans who call themselves moderates, while Romney led among Republicans who call themselves conservatives. McCain and Romney tied among self-described Republicans while McCain led among independents voting in Republican primaries. McCain also won in California, Illinois and Missouri, states where he won among moderates but conservatives splintered between Romney and Huckabee, giving McCain the overall win. McCain won in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, all states where moderate and liberal Republicans made up nearly half the voters. McCain even had a problem with conservatives in his home state of Arizona, where he lost to Romney among the two-thirds of voters there who called themselves conservatives. But his strong support among moderates, liberals and independents there gave him the win. Romney won in Utah and in his home state of Massachusetts, both states where Huckabee gained relatively few votes.

KEEPING THE FAITH

White, born again, evangelical Christians split across the three leading Republican candidates, with one-third supporting Huckabee and the rest evenly divided between McCain and Romney. Huckabee won in Alabama and his home state of Arkansas; in both, two-thirds of the voters were born-again Christians. Evangelicals have been Huckabee's base, and they also helped him win in Georgia and Tennessee, his standing bolstered by the six in 10 Republican voters there who were evangelicals. But in California, Romney, McCain and Huckabee were all running about even among evangelicals.

ECONOMIC WORRIES

Voters in both parties most frequently picked the economy as the most important issue facing the country. Given three choices, half of Democratic primary voters picked the economy, three in 10 said the war in Iraq and the remaining two in 10 said health care. Clinton led among voters most concerned about the economy and health care, while Obama led among those voters most concerned about Iraq.

Republican primary voters had four choices for that question and four in 10 picked the economy; two in 10 picked immigration and the war in Iraq and somewhat fewer said terrorism. McCain led among those Republicans who cared most about the economy, terrorism and the war in Iraq. Romney led among those Republicans who cared most about immigration, a key issue that helped him compete in California, where the issue was nearly as important as the economy.

Republicans had a far rosier view of the economy's condition, although few called it excellent; about four in 10 said it was good. Romney had an advantage among voters who felt the economy was in good condition, while McCain was favored by those who felt negatively about the economy. Among Democratic primary voters, fewer than one in 10 called the economy excellent or good; half called it not so good and four in 10 labeled it poor. Obama led among those few Democrats who called the economy excellent or good, while the two candidates were tied among those who felt the economy was in poor condition.

CANDIDATE QUALITIES

In the Democratic races, half of voters said they favored a candidate who could bring about needed change, and they voted seven in 10 for Obama. Clinton won nearly all of those voters who favored a candidate with experience, about one-fifth of all voters, and she won among the one in 10 voters who favored a candidate who cared about people like them. The candidates were about even among those looking for a candidate who can win in November.

On the Republican side, Romney led among the nearly half of Republicans who favored a candidate who shares their values, while McCain led among voters who favored a candidate with experience and who says what he believes. McCain also won nearly two-thirds of the vote of those few Republicans who said they were mostly looking for a candidate who can win in November.

BUT WHAT IF THE OTHER ONE WINS?

Just half of Democrats who voted for Clinton said they would be satisfied if Obama won, while just half of Obama voters said they would be satisfied if Clinton won.

Preliminary results from exit polling by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for The Associated Press and television networks. Partial samples in more than 400 precincts across 16 states with primaries Tuesday. There were 16,290 interviews of Democratic primary voters, 10,117 of GOP voters. Sampling error was plus or minus 1 percentage points for both parties.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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