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Exit Polls: How McCain Won

Updated 11:20 p.m.
By Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta
Network exit polls out of Florida show the economy was the breakaway issue, with more than four in 10 GOP voters and more than half of Democrats calling it nation's top concern. Three in 10 Republican voters said experience was the top quality they're looking for in a candidate; that's more than said so in other states. Change was again the top attribute Democrats were seeking. As they were in previous elections, both electorates were substantially older than they have been in other states to vote.

On the Republican side, more than six in 10 voters were conservative, including more than a quarter who said they are "very conservative." About three in 10 were military veterans, a third were seniors and 17 percent described themselves as independents. Hispanics made up 12 percent of all voters, up from 7 percent in 2000.

On the Democratic side, about six in 10 voters were female, three in 10 were aged 65 or older. African Americans made up 19 percent of voters; Hispanics 12 percent.

Among Republicans:
Top issue: economy 45%, terrorism 21%, immigration 16%, Iraq 14%
Top candidate quality: shares my values 37%, has the right experience 30%, says what he believes 21%, best chance to win in Nov. 9%
Feelings toward the Bush administration's policies: 68% percent positive, 32% percent negative.

Among Democrats:
Top issue: economy 55%, Iraq 24%, health care 18%
Top candidate quality: bring about needed change 50%, has the right experience 21%, cares about people like me 16%, best chance to win in Nov. 9%

GOP detail: McCain did well among Hispanics (54 percent to Giuliani's 24 percent; Romney at 14 percent) and among self-described independents, who went 44 percent for McCain, 23 percent for Romney, 13 percent Giuliani and 11 percent Huckabee. Among self-identified Republicans, it was evenly divided between McCain and Romney (both 33 percent), with Giuliani trailing at 16 percent, Huckabee at 15 percent.

Seniors made up a third of all GOP voters, down from 44 percent in 2000, and they went for McCain over Romney by 10 percentage points. Romney was up big among "very conservative" voters (Romney 44 percent, McCain 21 percent, Huckabee 20 percent), while McCain beat Romney by 2 to 1 among moderates and liberals, and the two split those who are "somewhat conservative" about evenly (McCain 35 percent, Romney 32 percent).

Romney has an advantage among immigration voters (43 percent to 25 percent for McCain); McCain among those calling Iraq the top issue (McCain 45 percent, Romney and 19 percent). McCain had a slight edge among economy voters (40 percent to 32 percent), while terrorism voters are split three-ways: Romney 29 percent, McCain 26 percent and Giuliani 25 percent.

The Bush factor:Those who have a negative view of the Bush administration's policies, McCain outdistanced Romney by 22 percentage points; among those with a positive opinion broke for Romney by a narrow 4-point edge.

Romney and McCain split higher-income voters evenly; McCain had the edge among those with family incomes of $50K or less.

Those attending religious services more than once a week went for Huckabee by a 14-point margin over Romney, but this was the only group he clearly won. The former Arkansas governor was closely competitive with Romney for white evangelical protestants, a quarter of whom supported McCain. That's the best McCain has done so far among these voters. Huckabee remains dependent on evangelical voters; among non-evangelicals he's in the low single-digits.

McCain had a 2-to-1 lead over Giuliani among Hispanics; whites divide 34 percent for Romney, 33 percent for McCain. Among the 7 percent who were Cuban, McCain has a 22-point edge over Giuliani, with Romney not quite getting to double-digits.

Absentees (24 percent of all voters) did not provide a boost for Giuliani: he trailed both McCain and Romney among these voters.

Military voters went for McCain by a narrow margin over Romney (42 percent to 35 percent).

Posted at 7:00 PM ET on Jan 29, 2008  | Category:  The Pollster
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Posted by: Braden notqe | April 9, 2008 11:47 AM

In the 80's we had Iran-Contra with Bush 41 heavily involved in that scam. Then there was Neil Bush in the S&L debacle. In the 90's the Clintons sold us a bill of goods with NAFTA, brought in thousands of foreign IT workers to keep salaries low, and lied not only to each other, but to the American people. Then Bush 43 and his gang lied to us about Iraq, conspired to make his friends in the oil Industry and Cheney's friends in the defense industry rich, and has tried to steal the Social Security funds for his friends on Wall Street. Since the seventies, our government has given its blessings and even tax incentives to corporations to move jobs overseas. And now the Clintons are back for a second feeding at the public trough. I don't know about you, but I don't think this country is strong enough to withstand four more years of abuse from its leaders.
McCain is better the Clinton, but he might fly off the handle and get us into another war. Clinton will choke what little life that's left out of the country. This country will need a good person at the helm. The problem is that good person and politician are almost mutually exclusive. Chuck Hagle and Russ Feingold are getting out of politics. I wonder why. Maybe the stench is just too strong.

Posted by: msmart2 | January 29, 2008 9:36 PM

Hillary failed to get a health care bill. Since then millions more, a lot of Republican voters, have lost their health care. Not because they wouldn't work, but because their jobs were off shored. Now they are not finding jobs of equal pay. Hillarys EXPERIENCE will enable her to AFFECT CHANGE. Obama's hope would fail just as Hillarys hope failed in the early 90's. We have to admit the deindustrialization started by Reagan Republicans has wrecked the middle class and change direction. Any system that benefits only our richest citizens will in the end not even benefit them. They will, eventually, have to hire a small army to protect them just like othe countries that have no middle class.

Posted by: lratcliff852 | January 29, 2008 9:13 PM

Hillary Clinton trumpets win in Florida? Spin, spin and spin. It seems that this woman cannot live one day without spin. I am tired of the antics of Hillary. She will do or say anything to win even try to change the rules of engagement in the middle of the game as witnessed in Nevada and Florida. This candidate suffers from a deficit of moral integrity and character.

Posted by: sbgamatt | January 29, 2008 8:53 PM

It's actually pretty pathetic -- and a sign that Hillary was stung by Obama's thrashing of her in SC -- that she's trying to make a big deal out of a non-binding primary that she didn't even whisper about a week ago. What a crock. Do we really want to put this person in the White House?

Posted by: jac13 | January 29, 2008 8:51 PM

re: the Kathleen Kennedy Townsend support for Hillary and the Hillary camp touts her being Lt Gov of Md I think it would be good to look at what she did as Lt Gov and what the outcome of those jobs were. Please look. Her Kennedy name was used but not all Kennedys are JFK or Ted

Posted by: peep1935 | January 29, 2008 8:48 PM

Thanks Republicans! The Republicans STOLE the Democrats 2008 Primary Election Vote Again in Florida! Just as they Did in 2000, and in 2004 by computer vote count and totals switching I saw and verified, as well as "suppressing black voters" by Highway Patrol roadblocks intimidation checking for licenses ans and proof of auto insurance. Thanks Jeb Bush for 2000 & 2004. Thanks republican Florida Legislature 2008!

Posted by: rmcnicoll | January 29, 2008 8:41 PM

I find it insulting when Bill Clinton suggested that Senator Obama won South Carolina because he is black just as Jesse Jackson won SC primaries in 1984 and 1988. These kinds of comments are highly inappropriate and nasty. These are the type of tactics Karl Rove would use. Hillary's injection of racial politics and prejudice in California is divisive, despicable and highly offensive. Her campaign's odious assertion that Latinos will not vote for a black man is an insult to Latinos. Latinos have voted for black candidates in Illinois, New York and California. Hillary and her husband who has lost his stature as a statesman are using the race card again to inject division and hatred in California. Her strategy to divide and conquer is getting tired and will not do the Democrats any good in November. My early suspicions are getting proven of her consistent lack of character. I personally would not vote for a candidate like the Clintons who will say or do anything to get elected even using the race card to their advantage. As a Democrat I will vote for a candidate who inspires, who looks to the future and who brings hope to all Americans irrespective of race and color. Hillary has lost my vote and the votes of my circle of friends and relatives. I cannot support a candidate who lies, distort and misrepresent facts. Her consistent lack of character is something that matters most to me as a voter because this election is about inspiration, trust and character.

Posted by: sbgamatt | January 29, 2008 8:41 PM

The fuss Rita is because despite the medias fascination with hating the Clintons Michigan and Florida shows that all the Obama hype is not all consuming and states of this makeup, southern, older, hispanic will be the end for Obama. Jesse Jackson won 11 states pepole!!!!!!! 11!!!! Obama won two, one of which a caucus where he bribed Biden, Kucinich, and Richardson to throw their supporters to him in second balloting and that was the difference. So where should the hype be.... about South Carolina???? Well Jesse won South Carolina TWICE!!! How was his administration? Where is his Prez library? OH YEAH HE LOST, could it be that America has only 12% blacks? The funny thing is as much as the media is trying to destroy the Clintons using Obama the more white America says I'd rather have a White woman than a black man. He is actually helping her win the nomination and preparing her for the general I'm grateful to him and his speeches are cute and he's not qualified to be a Senator nevertheless a President and if he was white and she was black, my people ...black people would show how biased we are even to our own detriment. Clinton hatred is never based on their records of government or voting its always personal by people who have never met them. Isn't that strange?

Posted by: m-malachi | January 29, 2008 8:37 PM

TAICHILO PROJECTS MCCAIN WILL WIN THE FLORIDA BY 2 TO 5 % OVER ROMNEY! AT ET TIME 8:23 PM.

I AM THE FIRST ONE TO POINT OUT IN POST COMMENT THAT PREACHER OBAMA CAN NOT WIN MOST VOTES FROM HISPANIC, ASAIN, JEWS, ITALY AND WHITE IN FLORIDA, TEXAS, CA AND OF COURSE NEW YORK, NJ, OHIO! OBAMA PLAYS THE NARROW-MINDED BLACK RACE CARD, CAN NOT WIN THE HEART OF THE MUTI-RACED AMRECIA!

Posted by: taichilo | January 29, 2008 8:28 PM

The Democrates are not in the running in Florida. Their party said no to this State and it does not count at all. So why all the fuss.


This State is just like Michigan.

Posted by: MsRita | January 29, 2008 8:21 PM

Florida is one of the older "purple" states. I don't know why anybody would be surprised to see McCain and Clinton take top spots here. FL will be much more interesting in the general election, if and when these two will be fighting it out.

Posted by: jcreitz | January 29, 2008 8:19 PM

Miami, Florida, Tuesday night. It is All About Experience and ability to Fight and reverse seven years of Lies by Republican Government - documented 235 Lies by Bush and Cheney, Corporatism in government - allowing the manipulation of oil and energy prices with no enforcement of environmental laws, no mine safety regulation, attack on Constitutional Bill of Rights, Free Speech, spying on Americans, from imprisoning demonstrators in New York at Republican Convention to lying to Justice Investigation Valerie Plame violation of Federal Security Laws by Bush, directed by Cheney and Irve Lewis Libby, Karl Rove leaks to Robert Novak, etc. Yes, Experience Is More Important than Hype and singing Kumbaya!

Posted by: rmcnicoll | January 29, 2008 8:19 PM

When I speak about CHANGE I am referring to a CHANGE of the LAST NAMES of our Presidents. Enough is Enough. George Bush Sr. Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, now again Bill and Hillary Clinton. I am a registerd democrate If Billary wins the nomonition of the Democratic Party. I am changing my party to Republican. I will Vote against people returning to the White House that have already lived in the White House. This was the plan when they left the White House. That's why Billary became a Senator in New York while the other Billary decided to have an Office in Harlam so he will keep the Black Voters on their side. Something came along called OBAMA and the plan begin to change. It hit like a ton of BRICKS. Where did this come from and why? We had this planned all out and now what?

Billary will go out making crazy and unconfirmed comments about this problem that they never saw as a real threat coming or maybe they did, but did not expect it a horse race to the final vote. This became full on Power Struggle for the Clinton's Black vs. White, Women vs. Men. (What does that really have to do with who becomes our next President)? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

I HOPE OUT NEXT PRESIDENT IS ROMNEY. I'm a California Voter sick of the Democratic CAT & DOG fight.


BILLARY VS OBAMA....WHO WINS... NEITHER

Posted by: MsRita | January 29, 2008 8:12 PM

When I speak about CHANGE I am referring to a CHANGE of the LAST NAMES of our Presidents. Enough is Enough. George Bush Sr. Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, now again Bill and Hillary Clinton. I am a registerd democrate If Billary wins the nomonition of the Democratic Party. I am changing my party to Republican. I will Vote against people returning to the White House that have already lived in the White House. This was the plan when they left the White House. That's why Billary became a Senator in New York while the other Billary decided to have an Office in Harlam so he will keep the Black Voters on their side. Something came along called OBAMA and the plan begin to change. It hit like a ton of BRICKS. Where did this come from and why? We had this planned all out and now what?

Billary will go out making crazy and unconfirmed comments about this problem that they never saw as a real threat coming or maybe they did, but did not expect it a horse race to the final vote. This became full on Power Struggle for the Clinton's Black vs. White, Women vs. Men. (What does that really have to do with who becomes our next President)? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

I HOPE OUT NEXT PRESIDENT IS ROMNEY. I'm a California Voter sick of the Democratic CAT & DOG fight.


BILLARY VS OBAMA....WHO WINS... NEITHER

Posted by: MsRita | January 29, 2008 8:12 PM

When I speak about CHANGE I am referring to a CHANGE of the LAST NAMES of our Presidents. Enough is Enough. George Bush Sr. Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, now again Bill and Hillary Clinton. I am a registerd democrate If Billary wins the nomonition of the Democratic Party. I am changing my party to Republican. I will Vote against people returning to the White House that have already lived in the White House. This was the plan when they left the White House. That's why Billary became a Senator in New York while the other Billary decided to have an Office in Harlam so he will keep the Black Voters on their side. Something came along called OBAMA and the plan begin to change. It hit like a ton of BRICKS. Where did this come from and why? We had this planned all out and now what?

Billary will go out making crazy and unconfirmed comments about this problem that they never saw as a real threat coming or maybe they did, but did not expect it a horse race to the final vote. This became full on Power Struggle for the Clinton's Black vs. White, Women vs. Men. (What does that really have to do with who becomes our next President)? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

I HOPE OUT NEXT PRESIDENT IS ROMNEY. I'm a California Voter sick of the Democratic CAT & DOG fight.


BILLARY VS OBAMA....WHO WINS... NEITHER

Posted by: MsRita | January 29, 2008 8:12 PM

It's amazing how the Clinton faithful are watching the results and trying to squeeze some satisfaction out of winning a non-contested primary, w/o delgates. Florida wasn't even discussed more than five days ago. spinning baby, spin.

Posted by: bruce.w1 | January 29, 2008 8:05 PM

thecrisis: Unfortunately, Florida does not have 51% black voters for Obama to win.

Posted by: Troglodyte | January 29, 2008 7:43 PM

Well, well, what do we see ? All important liemericans together. Anything to explain about building 7 ladies and gentlemen ? Anything to say about using 9 barrels and finding only 1 new barrel ? Keepin up the good news then, cheerio. I whish PRESIDENT OBAMA a lot of wisdom.

Posted by: jwholtkamp | January 29, 2008 7:35 PM

thecrisis: For the dems (assuming the exit polls are accurate)one third of the voters are older than 65, the top issue is the economy, 12.5% of the voters are Hispanic, 60% of the voters are female, and only 20% of the voters are African-American. So don't hold your breath while watching for Obama to win.

Posted by: jbrooks | January 29, 2008 7:33 PM

watch Obama win and then see what Hillary says about Florida's delegates.

Posted by: thecrisis | January 29, 2008 7:16 PM

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