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Exit polls: Demcorats overwhelmingly choose Hillary Clinton

By JEFF AMY

Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi Democrats overwhelmingly chose Hillary Clinton as their choice for the presidential nominee, according to preliminary results of exit polls conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump was gaining a huge margin among Republicans who wanted a candidate who “tells it like it is,” while Ted Cruz was running strongly among very conservative Republican voters and those who wanted a candidate who shares their values, the early results showed.

According to early exit poll returns among Democrats, the former Secretary of State rolled up big margins even among groups that have supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders elsewhere, while keeping a solid hold on groups that supported her in earlier races.

Only about a fifth selected income inequality as the country’s biggest problem, but even those voters supported Clinton strongly: she got three-quarters of their votes.

Here are more details of what the exit polls found:

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SANDERS: NO INROADS AMONG AFRICAN-AMERICANS

About two-thirds of voters in Mississippi’s Democratic primary were African American, and nearly 9 in 10 were backing Clinton in preliminary results. That follows a week in which Clinton won strong support among black voters in other Southern states.

The early results show Sanders fared better among white voters in Mississippi, but not by much. Clinton won about two-thirds of white votes.

Of all voters, nearly half say they would only trust Clinton and not Sanders to handle race relations, while about a third say they would trust both. Only about 1 in 10 say they only trust Sanders.

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TOO LIBERAL FOR MISSISSIPPI?

Most Democrats didn’t said that Sanders was too liberal, but they did seem to like Clinton’s ideological position and stance on business better.

Among Mississippi voters, nearly half said Sanders views were about right, while nearly 3 in 10 said Sanders was too liberal and fewer than 2 in 10 said he wasn’t liberal enough.

Almost 8 in 10 voters rated Clinton’s ideology as about right.

When it came to Sanders’ relationship to business, about 3 in 10 Democratic voters said he was too anti-business, while close to half said Sanders views on business are about right.

Clinton was in the sweet spot for Mississippians, with about 7 in 10 saying her views on business are about right. Voters were about evenly split on whether Sanders’ policies were unrealistic, while more than 8 in 10 said Clinton’s policies were realistic.

“I feel like Bernie Sanders is too close to the left,” said 34-year-old Gregory McGee of Raymond, who voted for Clinton. “I feel like we need a moderate candidate to build on the things the Obama administration has already accomplished …. I feel like she would be more effective.”

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VERY CONSERVATIVE = VERY CRUZ

In a state where Republican consultants often describe the most conservative candidate in any field as the favorite, Cruz was performing strongly among very conservative Republican voters. While Trump was easily winning voters who described themselves as moderate or somewhat conservative, preliminary results showed.

The early results showed Cruz supported by half of voters who called themselves very conservative.

“I think he’s probably the most conservative choice for our country,” said Laura Cummings, a 24-year-old registered nurse who voted for Cruz in Richland. “And out of the people running I feel like he has the best shot of beating both Trump and Hillary.”

Cruz appealed strongly to voters who said the most important thing was that the candidate share their values. Trump was leading among voters who want needed change and who can win the general election. He overwhelmingly led among voters who want someone who “tells it like it is.”

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Republicans who cast ballots in Mississippi’s presidential primaries are overwhelmingly worried about the economy, and Democrats are not much more positive, according to preliminary results of exit polls conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.

The exit polls found about 8 in 10 voters in the GOP primary were very worried about the economy. More than half of voters in the Mississippi Republican primary regarded Trump as the candidate best able to handle the economy, and he also got half of the voters who say the economy and jobs are the most important issue facing the country.

More than half of GOP voters said trade with other countries takes American jobs, and more than half of those voters were supporting Trump.

Democrats were also pretty downcast about the economy, reflecting a state where the recovery from the recession has been slow and unsteady. Among Democrats, nearly half said they are very worried.

MARGIN of ERROR

The survey was conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks by Edison Research as voters left their polling places at 30 randomly selected sites in Mississippi. Preliminary results include interviews with 595 Democratic primary voters and 805 Republican primary voters. Each exit poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.