Early results from Mont., S.D. primary polls

June 3, 2008 6:12:58 PM PDT
Preliminary results from exit polls and telephone surveys conducted for The Associated Press and television networks in presidential primaries Tuesday in Montana and South Dakota:


Did the long Democratic primary season leave the party energized or divided? South Dakotans said it had energized the party by about a 5-4 margin, while voters in Montana were about evenly split.


The surveys indicated Hillary Rodham Clinton's backers were a little less hostile toward Barack Obama than in most other recent primaries.

In six out of the last seven primaries, at least 60 percent of Clinton voters said they would be dissatisfied if Obama won the nomination ? including 72 percent in Mississippi, 73 percent in West Virginia and 77 percent in Kentucky. But barely half of Clinton's backers in Montana and South Dakota said they would be dissatisfied with Obama as the nominee. Tuesday's results were comparable to the exit poll results in the Super Tuesday primaries on Feb. 5.

In both states about a third of Clinton voters asserted they would vote for Republican John McCain or stay home in November rather than vote for Obama. In five of the last six states to vote before Tuesday, more than four in 10 Clinton voters had said they would abandon the ticket in November.

... MAYBE NOT On the other hand, about six in 10 Obama voters in both states don't want him to choose Clinton as his vice presidential running mate. Seven in 10 Clinton supporters in both say they'd like her to be the selection.

RATING HONESTY About seven in 10 in both states called Obama honest and trustworthy. Nearly as many said that about Clinton in South Dakota but half in Montana called her honest and trustworthy.

ECONOMIC WORRIES More than a third in both states said the recession or economic slowdown has affected their families a great deal and close to half said it has affected them somewhat ? comparable to exit poll results from earlier primaries.

Given a list of three issues, voters in both states were most likely to say the economy was the most important issue facing the country. A little more than half said that in South Dakota while slightly fewer said so in Montana.

___ Partial results from exit poll samples conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International in 20 precincts each across Montana and South Dakota. The early results were based on interviews with 756 voters in South Dakota and 873 in Montana, including about 250 early or absentee voters in each state who were interviewed by telephone from Tuesday through Sunday.