Exit polls: Super Tuesday's top takeaways

The best of the Super Tuesday speeches
best of super tuesday speeches wrap origwx nws_00004301


    The best of the Super Tuesday speeches


The best of the Super Tuesday speeches 01:41

Story highlights

  • Exit polling data from across the dozen Super Tuesday states where voters to took to the polls offered interesting insights into the electorate
  • Ted Cruz was the top choice of Texas Republican voters who think undocumented immigrants in the U.S. should be offered legal status and those who think they should be deported to their home county

Washington (CNN)Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton emerged stronger from Super Tuesday than when they entered, picking up solid wins in Southern states and boosting their delegate leads over their respective opponents. But exit polling data from across the dozen states where voters to took to the polls offered interesting insights into the electorate.

Most GOP voters in the South support path to legal status

Despite all the tough talk from the Republican candidates about deporting illegal immigrants, GOP voters in most Super Tuesday states said they support offering legal status to undocumented workers.
    In Texas, which has among the highest share of undocumented immigrants in the labor force, some 47% of Republican voters want to offer them legal status, while 43% would rather deport them, according to exit polls.
    In Georgia, which has a growing Latino community, the split is 53%-39%.
    Only in Alabama did voters prefer to deport these immigrants, by a 50% to 45% split.
    The billionaire businessman handily won seven state races on Tuesday, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz besting him in three states and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio securing one win.
    Immigration has been a key talking point in the Republican campaign, with candidates sparring with each other over their positions. Trump has said repeatedly that he would build a wall with Mexico to keep undocumented workers from crossing the border.

    Voters who care about 'shared values' support Trump

    The thrice married Trump, who at times brought his personal copy of the Bible on the campaign trail, was the favorite of voters in Southern states for whom "shared values" mattered.
    In Alabama, Trump won 43% of the total vote compared to runner-up Ted Cruz's 21%. It was a state where 78% of voters said they cared about shared values with the candidate they supported: Trump won 39% of them, compared to 26% for Cruz, the son of an evangelical preacher.
    Trump also won those voters in Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia, and coming within a point of Cruz in Arkansas.
    And Trump was also tops for those who identified as born-again or evangelical voters, also driving his victories. In Alabama, Trump won 44% of voters who identified as such, compared to 22% for runner-up Cruz.

    In Texas, Cruz wins both sides of immigration debate

    Cruz's hopes to win the Republican presidential nomination were pinned in large part on winning his home state of Texas, a delegate rich state up for grabs on Tuesday. And he did: 44% to Trump's 27%.
    And while he was no doubt buoyed by his familiarity with the state -- and voters' familiarity with him -- Cruz also was able to pull off an interesting feat: winning support of voters on both sides of the immigration debate.
    That is, Cruz was the top choice of Texas voters who think undocumented immigrants in the U.S. should be offered legal status and those who think they should be deported to their home county. The Texas senator, who rivals have at times accused of flip-flopping on the controversial issue (which he denies), seems to have found a way to thread the needle in the Lone Star State.
    Among voters who said undocumented workers should be offered legal status, Cruz won 38% compared to Sen. Marco Rubio's 29%. Among those who think they should be deported, 47% picked Cruz compared to 34% for Trump.

    Minority voters fuel Clinton's Southern wins

    Speaking of Texas, Clinton's win there was buoyed by her victories among minority voters. She won 83% of African-American voters, compared to Sanders' 15% and she won 71% of the Latino voters, compared to 29% for Sanders, according to exit polling.
    And it wasn't just there: In Alabama, Clinton won 89% of the non-white vote, in Arkansas she won 83%, in Georgia she won 81%, in Tennessee she won 85% and in Virginia she won 76%.
    But in Oklahoma, where Sanders defeated her 52% to 42%, Clinton won minority voters by a narrower margin, 56% compared to Sanders' 40%.

    Sanders buoyed by independents

    On the Democratic side, Clinton won seven contests compared to rival Bernie Sanders' four. But where the Vermont senator did win, it was clear his appeal to independents helped tip the scales.
    No exit poll data was available for Sanders' victories in the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses, but in Oklahoma and Vermont, the senator posted solid wins among independents. In Oklahoma, 27% of voters said they were independents; of those, nearly 7-in-10 voted for Sanders.
    And in Sanders' home state of Vermont the contrast was even more stark: Of the 4-in-10 voters who identified as independents, 92% voters for him.

    Voters who think the system is rigged pick Clinton?

    Sanders' campaign centers on income inequality. But that message didn't win him followers in many Super Tuesday states.
    Clinton won the clear majority of voters in six states who said that the U.S. economy generally favors the wealthy. She secured more than 60% of these voters in each of these states.
    Sanders, on the other hand, squeaked by in two states, winning 51% in Massachusetts and 54% in Oklahoma. Only in his home state of Vermont did 88% of voters who think the system is rigged vote for him.
    Overall, Clinton won seven Super Tuesday states, while Sanders secured victory in four.

    The most educated turned out for Rubio in some states

    Rubio earned the support of those with college and postgraduate degrees in Oklahoma and Virginia, and those with postgraduate degrees in Arkansas and Georgia.
    Those with less than a college degree turned out for Trump in nearly every state. The front-runner said "I love the poorly educated" in his Nevada victory speech last month.
    Only in Texas did Cruz win the top spot among voters across the educational spectrum.