West Virginia exit polls: economy top concern

Story highlights

  • West Virginia and Nebraska voters are hosting primaries on Tuesday
  • Almost two-thirds of West Virginia Democrats called the economy the most important issue facing them

Washington (CNN)Worries about the economy topped the concerns for both Democratic and Republican voters in West Virginia on Tuesday, but Republicans in Nebraska were less concerned about the economy and more concerned about government spending, according to early exit poll results.

Among West Virginia Democrats, 57% called the economy the most important issue facing them and a majority of Republicans there called it the most important issue. Democratic and Republican voters in West Virginia also agreed that trade was more likely to cost the U.S. jobs than to create jobs -- with 52% of Democrats feeling that way and 68% of Republicans feeling that way.
    Among West Virginia Democrats, 30% of voters said they or someone else in their home works in the coal industry, and among that group, about 90% were "very worried" about the economy. And 91% of voters said they were white, a number similar to New Hampshire and Vermont.
    A slim majority of Democrats in West Virginia (52%) also identified as moderate or conservative, making it one of the least liberal states for Democrats. And 30% of West Virginia Democrats said they would break rank with the party and vote for Donald Trump in November.
    Among West Virginia Republicans, 50% said they were angry at the government and and 50% said they felt betrayed by the Republican Party.
    West Virginia is a heavily religious state for Republicans, with 68% identifying as either born-again or evangelical Christian. And 80% of Republicans voters identified as conservative.
    Nebraska Republicans might have been less concerned about the economy, but 50% said that they believe trade takes away jobs from the U.S.
    Nebraska Republicans said they feel more betrayed by their party, with about 64% saying they feel that way. And only 51% of them felt that the Republican Party would unite by November.
    West Virginia Republicans were also very confident that Trump would beat Clinton, with 65% saying it was very likely and 27% saying it was somewhat likely. But Nebraska Republicans were less optimistic, with 43% saying he was very likely to beat her and 40% saying that was somewhat likely.
    West Virginia Republicans were also more excited about Trump than their brethren in Nebraska -- in West Virginia, 34% were excited and 46% were optimistic. But in Nebraska, more voters were concerned about Trump (24%) than were excited about him (21%.)
    Bernie Sanders won handily among the 32% of West Virginia Democrats who said they thought the candidate "cares about me," beating Hillary Clinton 63%-30%. But Clinton beat Sanders with the 26% of voters who said they wanted someone who "has the right experience," 73%-26%.
    Among the 42% of West Virginia Democrats who said they wanted someone who would have less liberal policies than President Barack Obama, Sanders beat Clinton 61%-27%. But among 27% of those who wanted the next president to continue Obama's policies, Clinton beat Sanders 68%-31%.
    Sanders also won handily in West Virginia among women (56%-40%), independents (69%-22%) and voters worried about the economy (62%-31%).
    CNN exit polls were conducted by Edison Research among Election Day voters at 25 precincts in West Virginia and 20 precincts in Nebraska. For results among the 653 Republican primary voters in Nebraska, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points. For results among the 734 Democratic primary voters or 566 Republican primary voters in West Virginia, it is also 5 points.