Results of Connecticut voters’ views in Tuesday’s election, according to an exit poll for The Associated Press.
Connecticut voters left no doubt about their preferences in the presidential race or a high profile U.S. Senate race. They handed Democrat President Barack Obama an easy win over Republican Mitt Romney, and also made quick work of the contentious race between Democrat U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy and Republican Linda MacMahon, choosing Murphy to fill the Senate seat being vacated by independent Joe Lieberman, who is retiring.
GENDER GAP PERSISTS
McMahon didn’t do much to dent the persistent preference of female voters for Democratic candidates. Murphy beat McMahon among women by a healthy 3 to 2 margin. McMahon won the male vote by a small percentage, but it didn’t matter because women made up over half the electorate.
About a third of voters said Murphy has high ethical standards, but only about 1 in 5 said the same about McMahon. That gap was despite McMahon’s persistent efforts to raise questions about late mortgage and rent payments for Murphy, and her allegation he got an unfair deal on a home equity loan. A good chunk of the electorate wasn’t impressed with either candidate’s ethics, with about a quarter saying neither has high ethical standards. About 1 in 6 was impressed with both candidates’ ethics. Paul Kubala, 71, of Columbia, would not say how he voted. The retired lab analyst for a wastewater treatment plant said the ads in the U.S. Senate race were ‘‘disgusting, absolutely disgusting.’’
WOMEN CARRY OBAMA
Obama was carried to a comfortable win in Connecticut by a huge preference for him among female voters, 6 of 10 of whom chose him. The female preference for Obama was amplified by the fact that women made up the majority of the electorate. It all helped Obama easily overcome less enthusiastic support from men, who preferred him by a slim margin.
AN ALL AGES SHOW
Murphy swept every age group over McMahon, and was particularly dominant among the youngest voters, with 6 in 10 preferring him. White voters were split between the two candidates. Murphy had comfortable advantages among Latinos and blacks, the latter of whom went for Murphy nearly 9 to 1. Murphy also lost just one income group, those making $250,000 a year or more.
McMahon held a slight lead among the largest religious group, Catholics, which accounted for 4 in 10 voters. But Murphy was popular among Protestants and other Christian faiths, about a third of the electorate. Murphy ended up getting a boost from people who said they had no religion, three quarters of whom backed him.
WRESTLING WITH THE PAST
It didn’t come up much during the campaign, but it appears most voters aren’t that concerned about McMahon’s work as chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, now called WWE. Six in 10 voters said it didn’t affect their vote. The last time McMahon ran for Senate in 2010, about 5 of 10 voters said the job didn’t affect their vote. Despite the change, the WWE job doesn’t appear to be a plus for McMahon. Three in 10 voters said it made them less likely to vote for her, while less than 1 in 12 said it made them more likely to favor McMahon.
HEADED FOR BRIGHTER DAYS?
Nearly three-quarters of the voters polled described the economy as not so good or poor. But about 4 out of 10 believe it’s getting better, compared to about a third who said it’s getting worse. And those optimistic voters overwhelmingly chose Obama. When voters were asked about their personal situations, only a quarter think they are better off now than they were four years ago. The rest were evenly divided about whether things are worse for them, or about the same.
OBAMA SHRUGS OFF INDEPENDENT VOTE
Independents made up a third of Connecticut’s electorate, and they were about split between the Obama and Romney, but their showing was down for Obama compared to 2008. But Obama had overwhelming support from members of his party, who accounted for 4 in 10 voters. Romney’s Republicans made up under a third of the electorate.
STAYING IN TOUCH
Connecticut voters chose Obama when asked which of the presidential candidates is better in touch with people like them. They also picked Obama when asked whether he or Romney would better handle the economy.
Voters considered unemployment the biggest economic problem by far, with just under half saying it was their top concern. And a majority of those voters favored Obama, though the jobless rate has been persistently high during his term. Taxes were next, but well behind unemployment, with roughly 1 in 5 saying it was their top concern and a clear majority of them favoring Romney. Rising prices were chosen as the next biggest worry, and more of those voters trusted Obama to tackle that issue. The housing market was not a top issue, with less than 1 in 10 picking that as the problem that matters most.
The exit poll of 1,955 Connecticut voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research in a random sample of 30 precincts statewide. Results were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.