Opinion: Exit polls reveal some hidden secrets of California’s voters


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Nationally, Super Tuesday seems to have been the election that nobody lost. Everybody won something, enough to stay in the competition a few million dollars longer.

In California, exit polls produced a few nuggets of revealing information about voters’ concerns and desires:


Despite the best efforts of Sen. Barack Obama including advertising, endorsements and the campaigning of Sen. Edward Kennedy, the Illinois senator made no significant inroads into the strength of Sen. Hillary Clinton in the state’s large Latino community. So he lost the state.

About seven in 10 Latino voters chose Clinton, while only three of 10 voted for Obama.

And what made a significant impact was that about three in 10 Democratic votes ...

were Latino, almost twice the share of the Democratic vote as in 2004’s primary. Unfortunately for Obama, who counted on his demonstrated strength in the African American community, less than one in 10 Democratic votes were black.

Of those, though, Obama reaped nearly eight of 10 black votes. Clinton got the other two.

About nine out of every 10 Democratic voters believe that Clinton is prepared to be commander-in-chief, while only about two-thirds think Obama is ready for that role. Yet there’s not as much animosity between Clinton and Obama supporters as you might expect. More than half of each’s voters say they would be satisfied with the other candidate.

On both the Republican and Democratic sides, the economy was the most important issue. But Mitt Romney, who ran as the candidate with the most business and economic acumen, got only slightly more than half the vote of those who saw the economy as most important. Sen. John McCain, who recently said he didn’t know much about economics, still got nearly half that vote.

Romney did score, however, with those concerned about illegal immigration. Those who worried about that went strongly for the former Massachusetts governor.

-- Andrew Malcolm