What exactly did the exit poll numbers say? (You can see some of the charts depicting the results for the top candidates below).
What’s interesting about these exit poll numbers is that people continue to claim Ron Paul is the most Conservative candidate yet it seems the people who are most conservative voted from Romney. He and Romney almost tie in the ‘somewhat Liberal’ category.
The exit polls showed that while Paul earned the majority of his votes from the younger crowd, Romney earned the most votes from every other age range, including 26% of the younger vote. In line with age, Paul also earned the most votes from those making the least money at 35% with Romney not far behind at 31%. Romney won the votes by all other income levels with only Paul close behind in the $30-50K levels.
Voters who have never voted in a Republican primary before gave Paul the most votes while those who have voted in a primary before gave Romney the majority of votes.
When it comes to Party Identification, meaning which party the voter most identifies with, Huntsman scores Democrats with 40%, Paul with 25% and Romney only 14%. Republicans overwhelming voted for Romney and Independents went for Paul with Romney only 1% point behind.
Romney wins both Registered Independents and Republicans with Paul only 3% points behind for Registered Independents.
Finally when it comes down to voter ideology, Romney earns the most by people from across the spectrum from ‘Somewhat Liberal’ (Paul is only 2% points behind) to Very Conservative. No other candidate comes close to Romney in the Moderate to Very Conservative ideologies.
What’s interesting is that the Paul camp claims that Ron Paul has won over Independents. Clearly he has not or the percentages would have been much higher in his favor, especially in New Hampshire where Libertarians (Paul’s true ‘party’) have pretty decent numbers and Paul has had a big presence here since 2008. They also claim that Paul is the most conservative but he didn’t even come close to Romney in garnering the Conservative voters. What is very interesting is support from the Tea Party. Ron Paul’s proponents claim he started the Tea Party yet Romney appears to have gotten far more support from Tea Partiers than Ron Paul. One thing is pretty clear, some Republicans do not seem to have a grip on Independents. The candidate that can win over Republicans AND the Indies, will win the race.