Exit Poll: Arkansas Moderates Pick Trump, Democrats Want Insider

Mar 1, 2016

Independent and moderate voters and those who want a political outsider as president helped Donald Trump win Arkansas' Republican primary on Tuesday, according to interviews with those leaving polling places.

The billionaire businessman also tapped into voter discontent with the federal government and fears about the economy, according to preliminary results of a survey conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.

Democratic voters who are worried about the economy and say they want a political insider as president propelled former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to victory in the primary.

The majority of Democratic voters said they want a political insider as president to tackle the biggest issues facing the nation. They say the economy is the most important issue, followed by health care and income inequality.

A closer look at the attitudes of the electorate:

VOTER DISCONTENT:

An overwhelming majority of Republican primary voters say they're dissatisfied or angry with the way the federal government is working, while more than 4 in 10 Democrats say they are dissatisfied.

Republicans who say they're dissatisfied split their votes between Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and billionaire businessman Donald Trump.

Among the Democrats who say they're dissatisfied, two-thirds voted for Clinton. More than one-fifth say they're angry, and just under 3 in 10 say they're satisfied.

OUTSIDER:

More than 8 in 10 Democratic voters say they want a political insider as president, and almost three-fourths of them voted for Clinton. Of the almost half of primary voters who say the next president should generally continue President Barack Obama's policies, more than 8 in 10 voted for Clinton. Three in 10 say the next president should have more liberal policies, and more than half of them voted for Sanders.

Half of Arkansas Republican primary voters say they want an outsider as president, with more than 5 in 10 of them voting for Trump - who's been playing up the fact that he's never held office.

IMPORTANT ISSUES

Almost 4 in 10 Democratic primary voters say the economy is the most important issue, and of those, two-thirds supported Clinton. More than one-fifth say health care and income inequality are the most important issues, with almost 8 in 10 of those most worried about health care favoring Clinton.

Republican voters say government spending, the economy and terrorism are the biggest issues. Of the 3 in 10 who care most about government spending, more than one-third voted for Cruz, who got the largest share. One-third of those who say the economy is the biggest issue voted for Trump.

CANDIDATE QUALITIES

Republican primary voters say the most important qualities in a candidate are someone who shares their values, followed by someone who can bring needed change. Of the almost 4 in 10 Republican primary voters who say they want someone who shares their values, 4 in 10 voted for Cruz. Meanwhile, of those who want a candidate who can bring needed change, more than 4 in 10 voted for Trump.

Democratic voters say experience and someone who cares about people like them are the most important qualities in a candidate. Of the one-third of voters who say experience is most important, 9 in 10 voted for Clinton. Three in 10 say someone who cares about people like them is important, and more than half voted for Clinton, with more than 4 in 10 supporting Sanders. Almost a quarter of voters say honesty is most important and more than half of them favored Sanders.

RACE RELATIONS

Almost half of Democratic primary voters say race relations in the U.S. have gotten worse in the past few years, and just over 6 in 10 of them voted for Clinton.

The survey was conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks by Edison Research as voters left their polling places at 25 randomly selected sites in Arkansas. Preliminary results include interviews with 944 Democratic voters, including 184 absentee or early voters who were interviewed by phone before election day, and with 1,382 Republican primary voters, including 245 absentee or early voters interviewed by phone. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points for Republican primary voters and 5 percentage points for Democratic primary voters.