Washington (CNN)Entrance polling results from the Iowa caucuses show about 45% Democrats are first-time attendees, while about 55% said they had attended before. On the Republican side, about 45% early arrivers say this is their first caucus, a bit more than said so in 2012.
Early voting results: Younger voters go for Sanders, older for Clinton
In 2008, 57% of Democrats said they were first-time caucusgoers.
The poll results from shortly after 11 p.m. ET, only reflect the comments of Iowa caucus attendees before they went in to make their decisions Monday night, and each respondent could have easily changed their minds after speaking with pollsters.
"The entrance polls suggest that although we're seeing tight races on both sides, only the Democrats are showing demographic rifts," said Jennifer Agiesta, CNN polling director. "Democratic caucusgoers are divided sharply by age, gender and income. On the Republican side, ideology, religion and on the attributes they value in presidential candidates are the center of the story."
Democratic attendees under the age of 40 tilted heavily to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, including nearly 85% of attendees under the age of 24. But attendees over the age of 50 went more heavily for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and also accounted for almost 60% of all attendees.
The entrance polls also showed that two-thirds of voters in the Republican race said they were born again or evangelical Christians, higher than the equivalent share in 2012. Ted Cruz had expected to run up support among the bloc, but the polls suggested its vote was being shared almost equally between the Texas senator, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.
Cruz won the most support of Republicans who said they were looking for a candidate "who shares their values," Rubio won the support of attendees who were looking for a candidate who can win the White House and Trump won among Republicans looking for a change and attendees looking for someone "who tells it like it is."
On the question of who should carry on President Barack Obama's legacy, Clinton won among roughly 70% of respondents. But Sanders won among roughly 75% of those who said they were looking for a more liberal successor.
The Iowa caucuses have often served as predictors of broader trends throughout each presidential cycle and beyond giving one candidate or another much-vaunted momentum, have also exposed underlying moods and feelings among voters, some of which were not immediately clear in horse-race polling.
Four years ago in Iowa, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum edged his way past eventual nominee Mitt Romney with the help of Republicans who identified as "very conservative" and evangelicals.
But Santorum also was the beneficiary of a dynamic somewhat unique to 2012 -- Republicans who went shopping for alternatives to the one clear establishment pick (Romney) and sampled a number of alternatives, including former Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, without truly settling on one.
In 2008, Iowa caucus attendees gave the first hint that a first-term senator from Illinois -- now-President Barack Obama -- may be on his way to upsetting Hillary Clinton, long the front-runner in that primary battle up until then.
According to 2008 entrance polls, Obama dominated among first-time attendees, caucusgoers under the age of 60 and independents -- while registered Democrats split their support evenly between Obama, Clinton and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.