A divided Republican base is defining the Michigan GOP primary today, with Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum again playing to competing wings of the electorate. Santorum, in particular, is seeking advantage among strongly conservative voters. But perhaps controversially, one in 10 voters in the open primary are another stripe entirely – Democrats.
Ideologically, six in 10 voters in Michigan today describe themselves as conservative, evenly split between “very” and “somewhat” conservative. Preliminary exit poll results indicate that very conservatives, a group on which Santorum has focused his efforts, may account for a slightly larger share of the electorate than in 2008, when they made up one in four Michigan GOP primary voters.
If that helps Santorum, he’s challenged by the share of evangelicals in the Michigan electorate – about four in 10, similar to their 2008 levels and lower than their share in two states in which Romney’s opponents have run especially well this year, Iowa (very narrowly won by Santorum) and South Carolina (easily won by Newt Gingrich).
Also worth watching are the choices of voters looking for a candidate who shares their religious beliefs; more than half say this matters to them, although many fewer, about a quarter, say it matters “a great deal”; and the six in 10 who oppose legal abortion, with differences between those who favor making it illegal in all cases, as opposed to most cases.
In Michigan, Arizona, electability top priority, exit polling shows – Political Hotsheet – CBS News
Republican voters in Michigan and Arizona say the most important quality they’re looking for in a presidential nominee is the ability to beat President Obama, according to CBS News early exit polling.
Michigan and Arizona Republicans are voting today in what has come down to a fierce battle between the establishment candidate, Mitt Romney, and the social conservative, Rick Santorum.
In spite of the major differences between the two frontrunners and the volatile nature of the primary race so far, voters’ priorities have remained consistent — in every contest so far with entrance or exit polls, the most important candidate quality for voters is the ability to beat Mr. Obama.
In Arizona, where Romney has led in the polls, 38 percent of voters said electability was the candidate quality that matters most. Twenty percent said strong character was the most important, while 22 percent said the having the right experience, and 16 percent said being a true conservative.
In Michigan, where the polls shown a tight race between Romney and Santorum, 33 percent said the ability to defeat Mr. Obama was the most important quality. Another 23 percent said strong character, while 22 percent said having the right experience and 15 percent said being a true conservative.
Romney, who’s run a well-organized, exacting campaign organization, has run on the message that he’s the most electable — in fact, he’s suggested he’s the only candidate who beat Mr. Obama.
Michigan Exit Poll Shows Voters Are Slightly More Conservative Than 2008
Some of the news organizations that subscribe to the National Election Pool exit poll in Michigan are beginning to share preliminary results on the characteristics of those who have voted so far. The New York Timesreports via Twitter, for example, that “6 in 10″ voters in the Michigan primary “say they’re conservative; 3 in 10 say they’re very conservative.”
If that result holds up, it suggests a slightly more conservative electorate than the exit poll found four years ago. In 2008, 56 percent of Michigan’s Republican primary voters identified as conservative and 24 percent said they were very conservative. As the Washington Post reported earlier Tuesday, strong conservatives have been Mitt Romney’s toughest group throughout the early primary and caucus states.
The Post also tweeted that just under 60 percent of the voters in Michigan identified themselves to exit pollsters as Republican. That result is also a bit lower than the 68 percent Republican identification in the 2008 Republican primary.
Presidential Politics for America: Michigan Primary Exit Polls
Michigan Primary Exit Polls
February 28 Primary “live” blog. Kind of.A running blog of numbers coming out of the 2012 Michigan Primary (with a little Arizona mixed in) and other bits of presidential politics. Check back for updates throughout the night! (And don’t forget to read my preview of the two primaries from this morning, or my predictions over at Construction.) Most of the pre-results focus are on the Michigan exit polls.7:15From CNN: 50 percent of Democrats voted for Santorum, while 15 percent voted for Romney. (I’m assuming Paul did quite well with the other 35 percent.)Advantage: Santorum! (Duh). Thus, of Romney/Santorum Republican and Independent voters, Romney must win by a margin of four or five percentage points to make that up.6:41A surprising 51 percent of Primary voters disapprove of the auto bailouts, while 43 percent approve, CNN reports. While it is a mostly Republican electorate, I’m still surprised that a majority of them were anti-bailout. Perhaps this legitimizes all four candidates being opposed to it. If a majority of Michigan Republicans were opposed to it, then one can only assume almost all nation-wide Republicans are, too.Advantage: Romney. More than anyone, he’s been associated with being against the auto-bailout, while Santorum has more strength with manufacturing, and used Romney’s bailout stance in an effort to attract Democrats.6:05Whoa! More Michigan exit polling from CNN:Moderate/Liberal voters: 40 percentSomewhat conservative: 30Very conservative: 30CNN went on to confirm MSNBC’s numbers from below.Advantage: tie.While Democrats certainly are here to cause havoc in the Republican Primary, there are moderate Republicans who certainly are more attracted to Romney than Santorum. While the “liberals” of this statistic are here to extend the primary, most of the moderates could very well be turning out for Romney.via Presidential Politics for America: Michigan Primary Exit Polls.
Exit poll: Michigan too close to call | M.WashingtonExaminer.com
With just a few hours till polls close, Michigan is too close to call, according to an exit poll by Conservative Intel and JMC Polling & Analytics.
The poll finds Mitt Romney clinging to a razor thin 39 percent to 38 percent lead over Rick Santorum, well within the 5-point margin of error.
The poll also shows Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., at 14 percent and Newt Gingrich at 9 percent.