POLITICS

6 Things New Hampshire's Exit Polls Tell Us About This Election

Voters in both parties are polarized and unhappy.
Bernie Sanders, seen here in New Hampshire on Tuesday, has been performing best with young voters and independents.
Bernie Sanders, seen here in New Hampshire on Tuesday, has been performing best with young voters and independents.

New Hampshire's primaries, which on Tuesday crowned a pair of outsider candidates in Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) and businessman Donald Trumphave a mixed record of picking the eventual presidential nominees. But the state's exit polls, which delve into the demographics and opinions of its voters, offer some hints about how the race could play out going forward.

Here are some highlights:

Dissatisfaction With Government Runs Deep

Eighty-nine percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats have negative views of the way the federal government is working. On the Democratic side, Sanders lost to Hillary Clinton by 9 points among voters who were satisfied or enthusiastic about the government's performance, but won by 42 points among those who were dissatisfied or angry. On the Republican side, Trump fared notably better among the angriest voters.

Still, a sense of disaffection doesn't necessarily correlate with a vote for an outsider. Nearly half of Republican voters feel betrayed by their party's politicians -- but they weren't significantly more likely to support Trump. Thirty-eight percent of those who feel betrayed, and 52 percent of those who don't, voted for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich or Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Few Name Electability As A Top Concern

While Clinton and the Republican establishment candidates have campaigned hard on their viability in a general election, just 12 percent of voters in either party said their main concern was choosing a candidate who could win in November. On the Democratic side, that group overwhelmingly went for Clinton; on the GOP side, it was split between Trump and Rubio.

People, of course, are not great at figuring out why they vote the way that they do, but the results suggest that candidates' messages about their general election appeal aren't resonating.

Voters On Both Sides Of The Aisle Are Polarized

Expect to see more debates over who can claim the mantle as a true progressive or conservative. A record percentage of Republican voters described themselves as conservatives, while a record share of Democrats called themselves liberals, ABC noted. Less than a third of voters in either party described themselves as "moderate." On the Democratic side, most of the movement toward the term "liberal" comes among the white, educated millennials who shore up Sanders' base.

Trump Keeps Underperforming Among Late Deciders

Unlike in Iowa, Trump lived up to his poll numbers. But both states' results show him struggling among people who made up their minds just before voting. Per exit polls, he took just 23 percent of the vote among people who decided in the last week, less than half his total among earlier deciders. In Iowa, the discrepancy with late deciders led to plenty of speculation that he'd damaged himself by skipping out on a debate; this time, there was no such excuse. That suggests that he's already consolidated much of the primary support he's going to get, while undecided voters are more likely to favor one of the remaining candidates.

Sanders Performs Best With Young Voters And Independents

Sanders took an astounding 83 percent of the vote among those under age 30, and managed not only to overwhelmingly win whites, but to tie Clinton among the state's sliver of nonwhite voters. He also won nearly three-quarters of undeclared or independent voters.

Among registered Democrats, however, Sanders ran even with Clinton. While New Hampshire makes it easy for independents to vote in party primaries, other states allow only party members to participate.

Most Democrats Would Be Happy With Either Candidates; Republicans Are More Divided

While the Democratic race has grown increasingly fractious, most Democrats in New Hampshire are ready to rally behind either of their candidates as the party's nominee. Nearly 80 percent of Democratic primary voters said they'd be satisfied to have Sanders as their nominee; 62 percent said the same about Clinton. Just over half also say that both Clinton and Sanders share their values. By contrast, although Trump won a resounding victory, just half of GOP primary voters say they'd be satisfied to have him as their nominee. Even less -- 40 percent and 37 percent -- say the same for Rubio or Cruz, respectively. 

Editor's note: Donald Trump is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist,birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

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