Exit Poll: Economy Is Top Worry for West Virginia Voters

WASHINGTON (AP) — Regardless of party, West Virginians voting in Tuesday's presidential primary are united on two things: They see the economy as the top issue facing the country, and they think trade is taking American jobs.

In the state's Democratic primary, a significant portion of voters said they were not Democrats. Less than half of voters in that primary say they would support either former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in a November matchup against billionaire Donald Trump.

In Nebraska, where voters are going to the polls in the state's Republican primary, the overwhelmingly majority say their party is divided and a significant portion don't see that as changing by November.

Those are among the early findings from exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research.

Other highlights from the exit polls:

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ECONOMIC WORRIES

More than half of West Virginia Republicans and nearly two-thirds of Democratic primary voters in the state say the economy is the top issue facing the country. About two-thirds in the Democratic primary say they're very worried about the economy and quarter say they're somewhat worried.

About two-thirds of the state's Republican primary voters and more than half of Democratic primary voters say trade with other countries mostly takes jobs from American workers.

In Nebraska, half of Republican primary voters say trade takes jobs, while about a third say it creates them. Still, far fewer than in West Virginia — just 3 in 10 — say the economy is the top issue facing the country. Another 3 in 10 say government spending, 2 in 10 say terrorism and 2 in 10 say immigration.

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DEMOCRATS IN NAME ONLY

Just 6 in 10 of those voting in the West Virginia Democratic primary say they're Democrats, while the rest say they identify either as independents or Republicans.

Among those voting in the state's Democratic primary, about a third say they would support Trump over either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in November. An additional 2 in 10 say they wouldn't vote for either candidate.

Less than half say they would vote for either Clinton or Sanders in a general election.

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TRUMP'S BASE

Most West Virginia Republicans feel good about the possibility of a Trump presidency.

About 8 in 10 say they're excited or optimistic about what he would do, and more than 9 in 10 West Virginia Republicans say they would vote for Trump in a general election matchup against Clinton.

About 6 in 10 GOP voters in the state say it's very likely the billionaire would beat Clinton in West Virginia in the general election. An additional 3 in 10 say it's somewhat likely.

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DISCONTENT WITH OBAMA, GOVERNMENT

Voters in the West Virginia Democratic primary are more likely to want the next president to have less liberal policies than more liberal policies or a continuation of President Barack Obama's policies. More than 4 in 10 say they want less liberal policies, while about a quarter want a continuation and another quarter want more liberal policies.

Half of West Virginia Republicans say they're angry about the way the federal government is working and an additional 4 in 10 say they're dissatisfied. More than half say they feel betrayed by politicians from the Republican Party.

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PARTY DIVIDE

Most West Virginia Republicans see their party as divided, but few think it will remain that way in November. Only 1 in 10 think their party is united now, but another 6 in 10 think it will unite by November. Just a quarter think it will remain divided.

In Nebraska, hardly any GOP primary voters think their party is united, and they're less optimistic than West Virginians about that changing.

More than 9 in 10 Nebraska Republican primary voters say their party is divided, and more than 4 in 10 say it will remain that way through the general election. Just half of the state's GOP primary voters think their party will unite by November.

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The surveys were conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research as voters left their polling places at 25 randomly selected sites in West Virginia and 20 in Nebraska.

Preliminary results include interviews with 427 Democratic primary voters and 390 Republican primary voters in West Virginia, and with 653 Republican primary voters in Nebraska. The results among all those voting in each contest have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 7 percentage points in West Virginia and plus or minus 5 percentage points in Nebraska.

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