Early Exit Poll Results

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


In the Democratic races, Barack Obama led among black voters and Hillary Rodham Clinton led among Hispanic voters. Obama led among white men, while Clinton led among white women. Overall, Obama led among men and Clinton led among women, although her advantage among women appeared smaller than was seen in early primary states. In the Republican races, John McCain led among men. He had only a small lead over Romney among women.


John McCain led among Republicans who call themselves moderates, while Romney led among Republicans who call themselves conservatives. McCain had a small lead among Republicans and a large advantage among independents voting in the Republican primaries.


About one in 10 voters in each party said they decided whom to vote for on Tuesday. Slightly more said they decided in the last three days. About half of Democratic primary voters and a third of Republicans said they made up their minds more than a month ago.


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. 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.

Republicans had a far rosier view of the condition of the national economy, although few called it excellent; more four in 10 said it was good. 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.

Democratic primary voters also were asked about their family's financial situation and a little more than half said they were holding steady. Among the rest, somewhat more said they were falling behind than getting ahead.


In the Democratic races, nearly half of Hillary Rodham Clinton's voters said it was most important to them that their candidate has the right experience, while three in four of Barack Obama's supporters said their top quality was that the candidate "can bring about needed change." On the Republican side, half of Mitt Romney's voters and seven in 10 of Mike Huckabee's prized a candidate who "shares my values." John McCain voters split among several qualities — a third said experience was most important while a quarter each said it was that he shares their values or "says what he believes."


As has been the case in earlier contests this season, turnout appeared to be considerably higher in Democratic than in Republican primaries.


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.


The Democratic electorate was a bit younger than Republican primary-goers. More than one in 10 Democratic voters were under age 30 and one in five were over age 65. Among GOP primary voters fewer than one in 10 were under 30 and a quarter were over 65.

As usual, men outnumbered women in Republican primaries while the reverse was true on the Democratic side.

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 9,240 interviews of Democratic primary voters, 5,867 of GOP voters. Sampling error was plus or minus 2 percentage points for each party.

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