Women, blacks back Clinton as Trump voters seek outsider
By Associated Press | March 1, 2016, 21:50 EST
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Clinton held on to older people and ate into Bernie Sanders’ support among the 30-to-44 crowd on Super Tuesday as her rival claimed a clear advantage with only one age group: his devoted under-30 followers.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump and his mad-as-hell message pulled in nearly two-thirds of voters looking to install an outsider in the White House. Those more interested in a candidate with political experience? They split about evenly between first-term senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, according to early results of exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research.
Other highlights from the exit polls:
PORTRAIT OF A TRUMP VOTER
Nine in 10 of Trump’s voters are looking for an outsider. Half are angry with the government. Nearly as many want a candidate willing to “tell it like it is.” Four in 10 said they were born again, cutting into Ted Cruz’s efforts to claim the evangelical vote. Trump, who has professed mutual admiration with “poorly educated voters,” was favored by half of voters without a college degree. His followers are nothing if not loyal: Six in 10 of his voters made up their minds more than a month ago.
PORTRAIT OF CLINTON VOTER
More than 90 percent of Clinton’s voters want an insider, and nearly half say experience is the quality they are looking for in a candidate. Two-thirds of her voters want to continue President Barack Obama’s policies, rather than shift in a more liberal direction. And, just as with Trump, 60 percent of her backers made up their mind more than a month ago. Two-thirds of her supporters are women, and two-thirds are 45 or older.
OUTSIDER vs EXPERIENCE
GOP voters in Virginia and Georgia who were looking for an outsider delivered a majority of their votes to billionaire businessman Donald Trump, a relentless critic of all things Washington. Those looking for a candidate with political experience? They were more likely to support Marco Rubio, a first-term senator who rejects the Washington insider label.
SOUR ON WASHINGTON
GOP voters across the nine Super Tuesday primary states were in a sour mood toward Washington.
If they weren’t angry, they were dissatisfied: At least 8 in 10 Republican primary voters had negative thoughts toward Washington.
The negative sentiments popped up all around the country: The dissatisfied outnumbered the angry and accounted for half or more of Republican voters in Virginia, Vermont and Massachusetts. In Texas, half of GOP primary voters said they were angry. In Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee, GOP voters were more evenly split between dissatisfaction and anger.
Women, blacks and older voters all bolstered Clinton’s standing. She showed the same strength among African-Americans that she did in South Carolina, supported by at least 80 percent of black voters in Alabama, Arkansas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas. Black voters made up just about half of voters in Alabama and Georgia, 3 in 10 in Tennessee and about a quarter of Virginia and Arkansas.
Clinton made inroads on Super Tuesday with young-ish (30-44) voters, who divided their votes about evenly between the two Democratic candidates. Sanders, by contrast had led among all voters under age 45 in the first three contests of the year, in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
Democrats in 8 of 9 states were more likely to want a continuation of President Barack Obama’s policies than a shift in a more liberal direction, as advocated by Sanders.
Majorities of Democratic voters in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia said they want a continuation of Obama’s policies, along with more than 4 in 10 voters in Arkansas, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Texas. In each of those states, about a third of Democratic voters or less want a switch to more liberal policies. In Sen. Bernie Sanders’ home state of Vermont, about half of Democratic primary voters said they want the next president to change to more liberal policies.
The outlier: Vermont, Sanders’ home state. About half of Democratic voters there said they want the next president to change to more liberal policies.
HONESTY v. EXPERIENCE
Democratic voters across each of the nine states had very different priorities as they chose between Hillary Clinton and Sanders.
Nearly half of Clinton’s voters said experience was the quality they were looking for, while only about a fifth or less selected electability, empathy or honesty.
Nearly half of Sanders’ voters said honesty was the most important quality and about a third said they were looking for someone who cares.
Hispanics made up less than 15 percent of Democratic voters on Tuesday. In Texas, though, Hispanics were nearly 3 in 10 voters and two-thirds voted for Clinton.
In the Texas Republican primary, 10 percent of voters were Hispanic. They divided their support closely among home state victor Cruz, Rubio and Trump.
On the Republican side, 4 in 10 of Trump’s voters in the nine states said “telling it like it is” was the most important quality in a candidate, and a third said they were looking for a candidate to bring about change. About 55 percent of Ted Cruz’s voters said sharing values was most important, as did 4 in 10 of Rubio’s voters.
Overall, white voters accounted for half of voters, or less, in three of the nine Democratic primaries where exit polls were conducted on Super Tuesday.
Nearly half of Democratic primary voters in Alabama and Georgia were black. In Texas, about 3 in 10 Democratic primary voters were Hispanic and a little less than 2 in 10 were black.
In three other states — Virginia, Arkansas and Tennessee — black voters accounted for about a quarter of Democratic primary voters.
Written by Nancy Benac and Emily Swanson