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February 29, 2012

Michigan Exit Polls

There are some interesting numbers in the exit polls out of Michigan, where Mitt Romney narrowly beat Rick Santorum yesterday. (Here are Fox's and CBS').

Nine percent of GOP primary voters were Democrats and they went for Santorum by 51%. So the robocalls had some effect. Romney and Paul each picked up 17% of that group. But the presence of that many Democrats makes it hard to draw conclusions from some of the poll data. Twelve percent of GOP primary voters said they "Strongly Oppose" the Tea Party and that group also went for Santorum (45%) over Romney (29%). That's gotta be those Democratic voters in large part, right? Santorum also got 45% of those who "Strongly Support" the Tea Party. Same problem with the union membership question.

On the other hand, some of the results are noteworthy. Of the voters who decided which candidate they would vote for on the day of the primary, Romney beat Santorum 38%-31%. That's a reversal from what polling before the vote was saying and is probably due to backlash over the robocalls and Santorum's JFK gaffe, which he said he regretted yesterday.

Other notable numbers: of self-identified conservative voters, Romney beats Santorum 43%-41%. Romney also beat Santorum among those who self-identify as Republican 48%-37%. But when those who say they're "Very Conservative" (about a third of the voters) are separated out, they went for Santorum (50%) over Romney (36%).

Fifty-three percent of voters believed Romney is the most likely candidate to beat President Obama. Only 73% of that group actually voted for Romney, though.

Thirty-one percent of voters believed working in government is the best experience for a president. That group went for Santorum (52%) over Romney (20%). The reverse was true for those who believed working is business is the best experience for a president.

Romney voters were indeed the most resolute: of the 62% of GOP primary voters who said they will definitely vote for the GOP candidate in November, 50% went for Romney; only 36% picked Santorum. The Ronulans, of course, carried away the category "Only If My Candidate Wins the Nomination."

One last surprise in the CBS exits: Romney beat Santorum among Catholics 44%-37%.

In short, in Michigan, Romney carried conservatives, Republicans, Catholics, those who believe working in business is better prep for the presidency than working in government, and those who are most dedicated to voting against President Obama.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 07:32 AM

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