Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won a convincing victory in Indiana, and a closely watched race between Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly and Richard Mourdock remained undecided after polls closed.
Here’s a look at results from a preliminary exit poll conducted in Indiana for The Associated Press:
DECONSTRUCTING ROMNEY’S DEMOGRAPHICS
Romney’s victory in Indiana was helped by big support from a number of demographic groups. He won the support of a wide majority of whites, conservatives and those with family incomes of at least $50,000. Romney also was heavily backed by voters older than 40.
OBAMA’S SUPPORT WEAKENS
President Barack Obama, who has polled better among young voters nationwide, managed to only break even with Romney among under-30 Indiana voters. That was down significantly from 2008, when he became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Indiana since 1964. He drew far less support from independent voters and from those with family incomes over $100,000 this time around.
LUGAR’S LINGERING IMPACT
Republican Sen. Richard Lugar’s presence on the ballot would have made for a completely different Senate race. If Lugar had been the Republican nominee instead of Mourdock, Donnelly would have lost about a quarter of his support to him, exit polls showed. Voters indicated that in a head-to-head showdown between Donnelly and Lugar, a plurality would have preferred Lugar. Mourdock, the tea party-backed state treasurer, easily knocked the six-term incumbent out of the race in the May primary.
ECONOMY SUPERSEDES ALL ISSUES
Any voter concerns about health care reform, foreign policy or other issues were dwarfed by the economy on Election Day. Six in 10 Indiana voters called the economy the top problem facing the nation — close to four times the number of voters who singled out any other issue. The federal budget deficit and health care were cited by about one in six voters each.
FEW BETTER OFF
Financial progress on the home front since the last presidential election has been limited, according to a majority of Indiana voters. Nearly four in 10 said they’re worse off today than they were four years ago, and about the same number said their family’s financial situation is no better. Only about a quarter said they are better off today than in 2008.
Most voters think the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals, while four in 10 think the government should be doing more to solve problems.
The preliminary exit poll of 1,458 Indiana voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research in a random sample of 25 precincts statewide. Results were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.