AP exit polls: Liberals, women help Obama win Wash.
SEATTLE (AP) — A look at preliminary results from exit polling in Washington state conducted by Edison Media Research for The Associated Press and television networks:
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: There were political and religious divides among voters over Referendum 74, which would legalize same-sex marriage.
Just 1 in 5 Republicans backed it, compared with more than 8 in 10 Democrats and a majority of independents.
Those who attend weekly church services were more strongly opposed to gay marriage. Just one quarter of weekly church goers backed legalization of same-sex marriage, while 4 out of 5 voters who never attend church favored it.
A majority of married women supported R-74, but married men broke against it.
Voters in Eastern Washington tied on the issue.
TIGHT GOVERNOR RACE: Republican Rob McKenna had a slight lead among men in the razor-close governor’s race, while Democrat Jay Inslee had a slight lead among women.
Among moderates, Inslee had an edge over McKenna, who has painted himself as a moderate to win in this liberal-leaning state. McKenna had the edge among independents.
Voters who said some or all of the health care law should be repealed went for McKenna, who joined on to a 2010 GOP lawsuit against the national health care overhaul. Those who wanted it to be expanded or leave it as it broke for Inslee.
Inslee, who has represented both sides of the Cascades in Congress, tried to appeal to voters in Eastern Washington, but voters there favored his opponent. Inslee led in King County, but voters in the greater Puget Sound were split.
LEGALIZING MARIJUANA: The campaign to legalize marijuana found support among liberals and moderates, Democrats and those with more than a high school degree.
Opposition came from voters 65 and older, conservatives, Republicans, and those with a high school degree or less.
Weekly church goers rejected the measure, while those who said they never attend religious services or considered themselves occasional church-goers favored legalizing pot.
The initiative led among voters with family incomes of $100,000 or more, but was about even in lower income groups.
PRESIDENT: President Barack Obama triumphed over Mitt Romney Tuesday by winning more than 9 in 10 of the state’s liberal voters and holding a narrow advantage among political independents.
He captured support of younger voters, men and women, college graduates, and both the wealthiest of voters and those in the lowest income brackets. White women broke for Obama, while white men were split.
Romney found strengths in Washington with conservatives and those who frequently attend religious services. He carried 8 in 10 conservative voters, and won two-thirds of weekly church goers.
President Barack Obama held an edge among those voters seeking a candidate who shares their values, a Romney strength in other states. And the president held a 20-point lead as the candidate more in touch with the “problems of people like you.”
Voters saw Obama as the candidate who could better handle the nation’s economy, although those who called the economy their top issue were evenly split.
Romney led among voters who said they were looking for a strong leader or were most concerned with the federal budget deficit.
ECONOMY: Washington voters were focused on the economy with a majority calling it the top problem facing the country — though more voters say it’s on the mend than think it’s getting worse. Just over 1 in 5 say the economy is now excellent or good.
On a personal level, about half of voters here said rising prices were the biggest economic problem affecting them, while a quarter of voters said unemployment was hitting them hardest.
The survey of Washington state voters was conducted for AP and television networks by Edison Research. This includes preliminary results from a survey of 1,493 voters who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.
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