(CNN) - Exit polling of voters in the Wisconsin recall election showed a tight contest, with a clear majority of voters having made up their minds well before the final weeks which saw intense campaigning on both sides of the aisle.
Voters were split 52%-48% with Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, taking a slight advantage over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, the CNN exit polls showed. Asked how they would vote if the presidential election were held today, a 12-point margin emerged. President Barack Obama would have carried the state with 54% to GOP candidate Mitt Romney's 42%.
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The exit polls showed that nearly nine of ten voters made their decisions in the recall election prior to May, when Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary to challenge Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican. Petitions for the recall election circulated after Walker signed a bill last spring which cut collective bargaining rights for many state employees, prompting massive protests at the state house.
Only seven percent made up their minds either on Election Day or in recent days, the exit polls showed.
Numerous telephone polls showed a close election, and political analysts predicted the election would come down to turnout.
Those who went out on Tuesday to cast ballots were nearly evenly divided along party affiliation, the exit polls showed, with 35% of those voting being Democrats, 33% Republicans, and 32% independent voters.
Neither party had an edge among voter's favorability: Republicans and Democrats alike were seen as unfavorable to 50% of those who cast ballots on Tuesday, and 47% saw each party as favorable.
The electorate was also divided along their opinions of the collective bargaining limitations, with 48% disapproving and 50% approving.
Polls close in the state at 9 p.m. ET.