Cruz wins WI on Trump fear; Sanders on excitement

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WASHINGTON (AP) — In Wisconsin, Democrats went with the candidate who excited them the most, and Republicans chose the candidate who wasn’t Donald Trump.

As Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won the state’s GOP primary, exit polls show his victory appeared to be driven more by fear of Trump than excitement about Cruz. In fact, a majority of Wisconsin Republican voters say they’re either concerned or scared of a potential Trump presidency.

On the Democratic side, voters chose Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who they saw as the more exciting, inspiring and honest candidate, according to early results of exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research. But even then, more voters view former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the candidate most likely to beat Trump, who has been the Republican front-runner throughout the primaries.

Other highlights from the exit polls:



A majority of Republican voters say they’re either concerned or scared of a potential Trump presidency, exit polls show. More than a third say they’re scared about what Trump would do as president, and about 2 in 10 say they’re concerned.

At the same time, though, about a quarter of Wisconsin GOP primary voters say they’re excited about Trump, while less than 15 percent say that of either Cruz or Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Most are at least optimistic about a Cruz presidency, exit polls show.



About 7 in 10 Democratic primary voters in Wisconsin said they are excited or optimistic about what either candidate would do in office, but they’re more likely to be excited about Sanders. About a third say they’re excited about what he would do, while about half as many say that about Clinton.

Nearly 60 percent say Sanders inspires them more about the future of the country. But more than half also say Clinton is the candidate best suited to beat Trump. Three-quarters say Clinton has realistic policies, more than the two-thirds who say that of Sanders.

Democratic voters were more likely to describe Sanders than Clinton as honest. About nine in 10 say so of Sanders, while about 6 in 10 say so of Clinton.



When it comes to a contested Republican convention, nearly 6 in 10 Republicans say the party should nominate the candidate with the most support in the primaries, which so far would be Trump. About 4 in 10 say it should nominate the candidate the delegates think would make the best nominee.

Even among voters who favored Cruz, 4 in 10 said the candidate with the most support going into the convention should be the party’s nominee.



Democratic voters in Wisconsin are divided on the effect of trade on unemployment, but among those who think trade takes jobs, 6 in 10 supported Sanders.

Just over 4 in 10 Democratic voters say trade with other countries takes away jobs in this country, while 4 in 10 see trade as beneficial, exit polls show. Only about 1 in 10 sees trade as having no effect on job in the United States.

The polls indicate a mixed response on an issue that Sanders has put at the center of his television ads. In the ads, he’s connected job losses with the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Clinton initially supported but has since said she opposes.



Both Republican and Democratic voters in Wisconsin say the economy is weighing heavily on their minds as they head to the polls Tuesday.

Three-quarters of Democratic voters say they are worried about the direction of the U.S. economy, according to early exit polls. The Republicans who came out to vote are even more troubled by the direction of the economy, the early exit polls show. More than 9 in 10 say they are either very or somewhat worried.

On the Democratic side, those who were at least somewhat worried about the economy tended to support Sanders.


The survey was conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks by Edison Research as primary voters left their polling places at 35 randomly selected sites in Wisconsin. The preliminary results include interviews with 1,188 Democratic primary voters and 1,012 Republican primary voters and have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Written by Chad Day and Emily Swanson