(CNN) - American voters - who elected Barack Obama president tonight - made their choice with a mixture of excitement and tempered optimism. Among the electorate as a whole, 30 percent indicated they would be excited if Obama won the election while 24 percent said they would be optimistic but not excited. Reflective of the election results, only 14 percent said they would be excited if McCain were elected and 32 percent optimistic.
Negative feelings and expectations are also held toward both candidates. Twenty-five percent reported they would be scared if Obama were elected and 20 percent concerned but not scared. With respect to McCain, 28 percent said they would be scared and 25 percent concerned.
John McCain lost Pennsylvania because his campaign strategy in the state did not play out as planned:
1) McCain counted on older voters; Obama carried voters 65-and-above by a 51 percent to 48 percent margin. (Nationally, only 44 percent of the 65-plus age group counted thus far reports voting for Obama.)
2) McCain counted on working class white voters. Obama won whites with incomes under under $50,000 by a 52 percent to 47 percent margin. (Nationally, Obama is carrying 48 percent of this group.)
3) McCain also counted on drawing Pennsylvania voters who supported Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. Obama won 81 percent of Pennsylvania Democrats who preferred Hillary Clinton in the primary (Nationally, the figure is 85 percent).
(CNN) - Among voters surveyed today, a bare majority - 51 percent - think the government should do more to solve problems. Forty-three percent believe the government is doing too much.
At the same time, early exit polling shows only a minority of voters - 40 percent - support the $700 billion government plan to assist failing financial companies. Fifty-six percent are opposed.
(CNN) - Remember the exit polls during the Bush-Kerry race?
Ask President Kerry how much faith we should put on exit polls.
Point: If the exit polls are as wrong this year as they were four years ago, we might expect to see a closer race in some battleground states than people suspect. May not be enough to turn the electoral map upside down, but stay tuned.
(CNN) - The first exit polls out Tuesday reflect what voters have said all along: The economy is by far the top issue on their minds.
Sixty-two percent of voters said the economy was the most important issue. Iraq was the most important for 10 percent, and terrorism and health care were each the top issue for 9 percent of voters.
The economy has dominated the last leg of the campaign trail as Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain have tried to convince voters that they are the best candidate to handle the financial crisis.
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton has made her vast experience a central theme of her campaign – and among those voters who said that was the top quality they were looking for in a presidential candidate, she was the undisputed choice in tonight’s exit polls: they chose her over Barack Obama by 93 to 7 percent in South Dakota, and 94 to 4 percent in Montana.
Barack Obama, meanwhile, has built his run around the need for change – and won large majorities of voters who said that was the most important quality in a potential commander-in-chief, beating Clinton by 67 to 33 percent among those voters in South Dakota, and 79 to 17 percent in Montana.
But even though they split tonight’s contests, it’s clear the advantage in this area was Obama’s: one in five voters in both states said experience was of paramount importance, but half of South Dakota’s voters, and 55 percent of Montana’s, said the ability to bring about change was essential in a candidate.
In Montana, voters who said having a president who cares about people was their priority split their votes almost evenly between the two candidates: Clinton had a 47 to 43 percent edge. But in South Dakota, which Clinton won, a significant majority of those voters – 60 percent – gave her the edge.
Former President Bill Clinton spent a lot of time in the state in the days leading up to Tuesday’s vote telling voters that his wife “cares about people like you.” It looks like that message sunk in.
(CNN) - South Dakota may have gone solidly for Hillary Clinton – but there’s a clue buried in the exit polls that suggests the healing process in the Democratic Party may already be underway.
A significant majority of voters – roughly seven in 10 – said both Democratic candidates were honest and trustworthy. It’s the final night of the primary season – but the first time that has happened since voting began in Iowa five months ago.
It may also be one sign that primary voters who did not support Barack Obama the first time around may be willing to believe the best about the Illinois senator heading into November.
(CNN) - The hard-fought Democratic primary race is winding down, but the veepstakes are just starting to heat up. Do voters in the year’s final contests think Barack Obama – just a handful of delegates away from claiming the party’s presidential nomination – should pick rival Hillary Clinton as his running mate?
South Dakota’s Democrats seem to like the idea; according to early exit polls, 55 of them think Clinton should be on the ticket this fall, while 41 percent do not.
But the state’s Obama voters give the idea a thumbs-down: 56 percent say Obama should not offer Clinton the vice presidential slot, versus 40 percent that do.
Montana’s Democratic primary voters are more divided: nearly half, 49 percent, think Clinton should join Obama on a joint ticket – but 45 percent do not.
(CNN) - Two very white, working-class Western states. But look closer: there are some very real differences between the two sets of Democratic primary voters in tonight’s final primary contests.
South Dakota’s primary was closed, only registered Democrats were allowed to weigh in. But roughly one in three primary voters in Montana are independent – and that group is heavily supporting Barack Obama.
Hillary Clinton may have had an easier time winning over the party’s base - but Obama’s campaign will be counting on his ability to go toe-to-toe with John McCain over independent voters
(CNN) - The youngest and oldest voters in South Dakota’s Democratic primary overwhelmingly support their candidate – but as in many contests this primary season, both groups have landed on opposite sides of the Democratic divide, according to early exit polls.
The youngest voters, those aged 18-29, supported Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, 65 to 35 percent. Voters 65 and older had the exact same level of support for Clinton, voting for her 65-35 percent over Obama.
It’s a problem that’s plagued Obama all year: how to make his case to seniors, who have been critical to Democratic presidential hopes in past campaigns. Can he win them over by November?