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Keys to victory on Super Tuesday

  • Story Highlights
  • White women appeared to overwhelmingly support Clinton
  • Black voters favored Obama, as did younger voters
  • Evangelicals favored Huckabee; McCain did well among seniors
  • Economy a winning issue for McCain; Romney scored with immigration issue
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The CNN Political Unit took a look at what dynamics could play significant roles in victory -- or defeat -- for the various candidates as they slug it out on Super Tuesday. Here's how those issues were playing out in early voting on Tuesday, based on early exit polls of voters in states with Democratic or GOP primaries where polls have already closed.

(CNN) -- For Democrats, these reflect voter samples in Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.

Overall, the surveys interviewed 16,290 voters.

For Republicans, they reflect voter samples in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, New York, Arkansas, California, Utah and Arizona.


How did the overall female vote play out?

A majority of women (53 percent) threw their support to Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, versus 42 percent for Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.

Among men, the trend was reversed, with 44 percent of men backing Clinton and 50 percent of them backing Obama.

But the former first lady was spurned by women in Illinois, New Mexico, Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Missouri and Utah, according to the exit polls. Video Watch analysts evaluate the Democratic candidates »

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How did African-Americans vote?

Black voters of either gender went overwhelmingly to the Obama camp. In all, 85 percent of black men and 80 percent of black women voted for Obama.

Illinois again was a big win for Obama, with 93 percent of African-Americans voting for him. The state sent him to the Senate in 2004.

How did the Latino vote go?

Clinton drew more Latino votes, especially among Latina women, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of whom said they voted for her.

But Obama's home-field advantage appeared to have helped him in Illinois, where he was leading Clinton 50 to 49 percent among Latinos.

How did white voters vote?

White Democratic men did not appear unified on how they voted Tuesday. In Connecticut, they favored Obama over Clinton by 57 to 40 percent. Those numbers were nearly reversed in Tennessee, where Clinton was ahead of Obama among white men by 58 percent to 32 percent.

Overall, white men were favoring Obama, 47 percent to 45 percent.

But white women appeared to strongly support the white female candidate. In all, 59 percent of white women said they had voted for Clinton, versus 35 percent who said they had voted for Obama.

In some cases, the difference was striking: In Massachusetts, nearly two-thirds of white women said they had voted for Clinton, versus fewer than half (48 percent) of white men.

Is Obama still dominant among young voters?


Among voters under age 29, 56 percent said they had voted for the 46-year-old senator from Illinois, versus 42 percent who had gone for his 60-year-old New York counterpart.

Obama was outpolling the youngest voters in some states by more than 2-to-1 and in all states by a solid majority. That was not the case among those voters of retirement age. In nearly all states, Clinton was riding a sizable lead with that group. Again, Illinois was an exception. Seniors there split 48-48 between the two.

Health care, Iraq and the economy: Still the same?

In general, voters who felt the war in Iraq was the biggest issue affecting the country were more likely to have voted for Obama (53 percent) than for Clinton (42 percent).

Voters who felt the economy was most important were more likely to have voted for Clinton (52 percent) than for Obama (43 percent).

And voters who thought health care was the biggest issue were more likely to vote for Clinton (54 percent) than Obama (41 percent).

Which candidate's key quality was more important?

The buzzword in recent weeks has been change, and voters continued to cite it Tuesday as something Obama could effect.

Among those who said one of the candidates could bring about change, more than two-thirds (66 percent) said it was Obama. Fewer than a third (31 percent) cited Clinton.

But the two-term senator from New York surpassed the one-term senator from Illinois when voters were asked about experience, with 91 percent of voters saying she "has the right experience," versus just 5 percent who said the same thing about Obama. Video See the qualities that voters were seeking »


How did the evangelical, or born-again, vote play out?

In most states, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is also a former pastor, won the broad support of voters who described themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians.

However, in Illinois, 41 percent of these voters chose Sen. John McCain, and in Massachusetts, 60 percent of these voters chose their former governor, Mitt Romney. In Arizona, 45 percent of evangelical voters chose McCain, with only 15 percent voting for Huckabee. Thirty-two percent voted for Romney there.

In Illinois and Massachusetts, Huckabee garnered one-quarter and 17 percent of the evangelical vote.

His support among these voters seemed to peak in Alabama, where he won nearly half the vote -- 45 percent. He did poorly among them in Utah and California, winning only 12 and 6 percent, while Romney picked up 83 percent in Utah and McCain won among them in California, with 38 percent.

There was not enough data on born-again voters in Connecticut to tell who they had voted for. In New York, where evangelicals were only 20 percent of voters, they narrowly chose McCain over Romney, 32 to 31 percent.

How did the senior vote play out?

McCain, 71, fared especially well among the senior age group in the states whose polls closed at 8 p.m. or earlier, winning them by wide margins in all but two states. In Massachusetts, McCain and Romney both won the support of 45 percent of seniors, and in Missouri, Romney won the support of that 65-and-older age group, with 43 percent of them, edging out McCain's 30 percent.

McCain's support among seniors appeared broadest in Illinois, where he won 54 percent of them, with Romney coming in second, with 31 percent.

In Arkansas, Huckabee won more than half of the senior vote, winning broadly over McCain, who had 27 percent.

However, in Utah, Romney won a landslide among senior voters, winning 92 percent of them.

What was more important: personal qualities or issues?

Voters who named personal qualities as more important than issues most often chose McCain, although they chose Romney in his home state.

For voters who named issues as more important than personal qualities, Huckabee did well in the South -- winning Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Romney and McCain divided the votes of issue voters in other regions -- with Romney winning them in Massachusetts, Missouri and New Jersey, while McCain won them in Connecticut and Illinois.

In his home state of Arkansas, Huckabee did best among both sets of voters -- winning with 57 percent to McCain's 17 among issues voters, and 55 percent to McCain's 29 percent among personal quality voters there.

And in Utah, Romney scored well with issues and personal quality voters, winning 86 and 94 percent of them.

How did anti-Bush Republicans vote? Did McCain get the Republican "change vote"?

Voters who said they had a "negative opinion" of President Bush's administration flocked to McCain, who picked them up by wide margins in most states.

In California, McCain's margin was slimmer, winning 40 percent to 33 over Romney.

In Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas, McCain lost these voters to Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor narrowly edged McCain among those voters in Alabama and in Tennessee, beating him 35 to 31 percent in Alabama and 32 to 28 percent in Tennessee. However, in Arkansas, Huckabee beat McCain handily among these voters, 55 to 25 percent.

In Massachusetts, Romney won more than half of those voters, and McCain came in second there, with 35 percent. In Utah, Romney was far and away the frontrunner for these voters, and won 83 percent of them.

How did conservatives vote?

Voters who described themselves as "conservative" chose Huckabee in the Southern states of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, although Huckabee only narrowly edged Romney with conservative voters in Georgia, 38 to 37 percent. Huckabee won these voters in Oklahoma, beating out Romney 35 percent to the former Massachusetts governor's 28 percent.

Northeastern and Midwestern "conservative" voters seemed divided between Romney and McCain, who has come under attack from Romney and Huckabee on his conservative credentials.

McCain won these voters in Illinois and squeaked by Romney with these voters in Connecticut, while Romney had broad support from them -- 73 percent -- in his home state of Massachusetts. They also chose Romney in Missouri and in Arizona, polls showed. McCain won only 36 percent of conservative voters in his home state, compared with Romney's 47 percent.

In New York, Romney edged out McCain 41 to 39 percent among these voters, and in Utah, he beat all other candidates handily among them -- garnering an impressive 93 percent.

In California, conservatives also chose Romney over McCain, 46 to 30 percent.

For those concerned about the economy as the top issue, how did they vote? Immigration?

Voters who named the economy as their top issue showed their support for McCain in most states, a blow to Romney, who touted that issue often in his campaign. Romney won among those voters in Massachusetts, while Huckabee won them in Alabama.

Among voters who named immigration as their top issue, Romney did well -- picking up support from these voters in Georgia, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri Arizona, New York, California and New Jersey.

Huckabee won them in Alabama and Oklahoma. He also handily won among both sets of voters in Arkansas, and Romney also easily won among both sets in Utah.

Not surprisingly, voters mostly concerned about immigration did not choose McCain, who came under fire for the McCain-Kennedy bill on immigration, which some condemned as "amnesty." However, Arkansas voters who named immigration as their top issue chose McCain over Romney, and in Arizona and New York, they chose McCain over Huckabee.


Which way did the Latino vote go?

Although information was scant for most states, in Arizona and California, where data was available, McCain had the edge. He won handily in Arizona with 62 percent, while Romney garnered 31 percent. In California, McCain won with a third of the Latino vote, over Romney's 25 percent and Huckabee's 23 percent. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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