Exit Poll Analysis From Tuesday’s Primaries

Voters in five states -- Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island -- headed to the polls Tuesday to cast their votes in the Republican and Democratic presidential primary contests (for full news, analysis and results, click here).

The NBC News Exit Poll Desk has analyzed results from the NBC News Exit Poll in Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Exit polls are surveys based on interviews of voters leaving their polling places. The NBC News Exit Poll is conducted by Edison Research.

Here's a recap of our live blog below for all the exit poll analysis:


NBC News Exit Poll Results: With Nominees Nearly Set, GOP Has a Lot More Work to Do Than Democrats

Primaries held in five Northeastern states today saw front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump all but closing the door on their rivals’ attempts to block their march to their parties’ nominations.

But while the parties looked all but certain to crown Clinton and Trump their respective standard-bearers, results from NBC News Exit Polls conducted in a trio of states (Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania) suggest that Democrats currently hold an edge looking forward to the general election. That’s because substantial numbers of Republican voters deeply dislike Trump, they’re dispirited by the GOP campaign and they say they won’t vote for him November. Clinton faces similar problems, but on a much smaller scale. As a result, the Democrats are currently presenting a much more unified front as they turn toward beating the GOP this fall.

Trump swept the five Republican contests, breaking 60 percent in Delaware and Rhode Island, with partial returns indicating he would do almost as well in Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The geographic breadth of Trump’s victory meant that he was likely to win almost all of the GOP pledged delegates at stake today. For her part, Clinton padded her substantial delegate lead by decisively winning the two largest states (Maryland and Pennsylvania), notching a narrow win against opponent Bernie Sanders in Connecticut and splitting two smaller states with Sanders (winning Delaware and losing Rhode Island).

But despite Trump’s series of landslide wins, nearly a quarter of Republicans voting today said they wouldn’t vote for him in November. Exit poll results from Pennsylvania help to explain why. Even as Trump rolled to a 30-point victory there, about four in 10 of the state’s GOP voters pronounced themselves either “scared” or “concerned” at the idea of Trump as president, and a solid majority said the long Republican presidential campaign had done more to divide the party than unify it.

While the Democrats are not yet completely unified, they are in better shape than the GOP. Only 14 percent of Democrats voting today said they wouldn’t vote for Clinton in November. Results from Pennsylvania again help illuminate why this is so. There, seven out of 10 Democrats—including majorities of both Clinton and Sanders voters—said the campaign had energized the party. Three in 10 Pennsylvania Democrats expressed negative feelings about the idea of a Clinton presidency, far fewer than the share of Republicans concerned about Trump.

NBC News Exit Polls: Democrats Confident Clinton Can Beat Trump

Democrats casting votes in three primary states today—Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania—expressed confidence that Hillary Clinton can beat Donald Trump if she leads the Democratic ticket and he is the Republican nominee.

According to the NBC News Exit Polls, two-thirds of Democrats think Clinton, rather than Bernie Sanders, has the better chance to beat Trump in November. Among Sanders supporters who have been staunchly loyal to their candidate, nearly three in 10 concede Clinton holds the better odds for defeating Trump should he emerge as the GOP nominee following the convention in July.

Connecticut Exit Poll: Familiar Patterns of Support for Both Candidates, But Clinton Had the Edge

According to the NBC News Exit Poll, voters in the Democratic primary in Connecticut divided along similar demographic lines as those in other states, but Hillary Clinton was able to gain a narrow advantage by battling Bernie Sanders to nearly a draw among whites while taking a solid majority among voters of other racial backgrounds.

Clinton took a majority of women, while Sanders got a similar majority among men. But far more women than men voted in Connecticut today.

Sanders won by a whopping majority among voters under 30, and led Clinton among those 30-44. But nearly two-thirds of Connecticut voters today were 45 or older, and Clinton won them by solid margins.

Clinton battled Sanders to a draw among Democrats who described themselves as liberal and took a small edge among moderates.

Maryland Exit Poll: Age and Race Strong Influences on Van Hollen’s Victory

In the Maryland Democratic U.S. Senate primary today, involving two current U.S. House members, the race and age of voters played strong roles in leading Rep. Chris Van Hollen to victory over Rep. Donna Edwards.

According to the NBC News Exit Poll, blacks represented nearly half of voters participating in the Maryland Democratic primary. Edwards, a single mother who was hoping to become only the second African-American woman to ever hold office in the U.S. Senate, was backed by six in 10 black voters, while 35 percent supported Van Hollen.

But Van Hollen took an even larger share of the white vote -- about seven in 10 -– and there were nearly as many white as black voters.

Voters also divided by age. Edwards took a small plurality of voters under 45, but lost the much larger group of those ages 45 and older.

If Van Hollen wins in November, he will succeed retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

NBC News Exit Poll Results: Republican Suburbanites Warm Up to Donald Trump

Highly educated and relatively well-off suburban voters in the nation’s Northeast have long been at the heart of the moderate wing of the Republican Party. But results from the NBC News Exit Poll in three states holding primaries today show GOP suburbanites delivering surprisingly strong support to Donald Trump, demonstrating the wide appeal of his unorthodox, anti-establishment campaign.

In the Connecticut Republican primary, Trump overwhelmed his rivals in the New York City suburbs. He captured the support of nearly six out of 10 Republicans in this region, despite it being home to some of the nation’s best-educated and wealthiest voters. Trump also held his own among Philadelphia suburbanites in the Pennsylvania Republican primary today, winning nearly a majority. Neither Ted Cruz nor John Kasich performed nearly as well here -- each got fewer than three in 10 of the region’s votes.

Only in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, where Maryland Republicans voted today, did Trump’s fervently anti-Washington campaign run into trouble. There, he got just about four in 10 votes, narrowly edging out Cruz and Kasich.

Pennsylvania Exit Poll: Clinton Wins With Support from Women and Black Voters

Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in Pennsylvania today with very strong support from seven in 10 black voters and six in 10 women. According to the NBC News Exit Poll, additional groups making a key difference for Clinton included two-thirds of voters age 65 and older and six in 10 who are married. She also managed a narrow edge among unmarried women.

The NBC News Exit Poll also shows Clinton and Sanders had a tug of war in Pennsylvania among whites and men, with Clinton holding a slight lead with white voters while Sanders held the edge with men. It’s noteworthy, however, that Clinton did beat Sanders slightly among married men.

Experience and electability continue to be positive attributes driving support for Clinton. Nearly nine in 10 who considered experience as the most important candidate quality voted for Clinton.

About two-thirds also think Clinton (versus one-third for Sanders) has the better chance to beat Donald Trump if he is the Republican nominee in November.

Maryland Exit Poll Results: The Top Choice of Moderates, Women and the Wealthy? Donald Trump

Donald Trump enjoyed a substantial victory in the Maryland GOP presidential primary today, and results from the NBC News Exit Poll showed him performing surprisingly well among groups of voters most resistant to him in previous contests, including women, moderates and the state’s wealthiest voters. NBC News projected Trump the winner shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m. ET.

Trump, whose remarks about women have been called sexist by some commentators, nevertheless emerged as the top choice of female Republicans in Maryland -- he won about half of their votes, with rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich roughly splitting the remainder. As in other states, Trump performed stronger among Maryland men, getting about six in 10 of their votes.

Maryland’s most conservative GOP voters gave Trump their strongest support, but he also emerged as the top choice among the state’s moderate Republicans. Trump won about half the votes among each of the state’s ideological groups. The story was the same when examining the electorate on the basis of income: Trump placed first among every income group, including those with family incomes of $200,000 or more. Kasich won 34 percent of the highest earners, and Cruz won 17 percent of those voters.

NBC News Exit Poll Results: Democrats Want Obama’s Policies Continued

A majority of Democrats want Barack Obama’s policies continued by the next president, according to the NBC News Exit Polls in the Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania Democratic primaries today. Moreover, reflecting the increased shift among Democratic voters toward the political left this year, another three in 10 Democrats say they favor the next president having even more liberal policies.

Hillary Clinton won a big majority – about seven in 10 across the three states -- among those who want to see Obama’s policies continued. But among those who would like more liberal policies pursued, about two-thirds cast votes for Bernie Sanders today.

The NBC News Exit Polls find that only one in 10 Democrats voting in the three states today want a change to less liberal policies.

Connecticut Exit Poll Results: A Wealthy, Educated State Gives Thumbs Up To Trump

Connecticut, whose population is among the most wealthy and best educated of any state in the nation, might seem inhospitable to Donald Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric and controversial views. But Trump won a landslide victory in the state today, getting more votes than either of his rivals among all education and income groups—including the state’s most educated and highest-income voters. NBC News projected Trump the winner moments after the state’s polls closed at 8 p.m. ET.

As in previous contests, Trump performed best among Connecticut’s least-educated and lowest-income Republican voters. Trump dominated with those with a high school education or less, garnering about three out of four of their votes. But he performed well all the way up the education ladder, winning majorities of voters with a college degree and those with some college education. He even held his own among Connecticut Republicans with a post-graduate degree, winning more than four in 10 of their votes.

The theme was the same when looking at Connecticut Republicans by income. As usual, Trump swept the support of the state’s lowest-income voters, winning seven in 10 of the votes of those making less than $50,000 annually. But he either led each of his rivals in every income group, including voters with family incomes over $200,000, where his totals easily topped those of rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

Pennsylvania Exit Poll Results: The Angry, Anti-Establishment Voters Behind Trump’s Big Victory

Results from the NBC News Exit Poll show Donald Trump riding to an overwhelming win in the Pennsylvania Republican primary today, thanks to backing from voters who are tired of the establishment, hungry for change and angry at the government. NBC News projected Trump to be the winner moments after the state’s polls closed at 8 p.m. ET.

Trump, the only candidate in the race who has never held elected office, dominated among GOP Pennsylvanians who want the next president to be from outside of the political establishment, winning more than eight in 10 of their votes. Rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich roughly split those who instead said they wanted a president with experience in politics.

Other key groups for Trump followed a similar theme. He won strongly among Republicans who said they most desired a candidate who could bring about change, garnering seven out of 10 of their votes. A majority of Pennsylvania Republicans said trade with other nations is bad for U.S. jobs; Trump enjoyed robust support from these voters. And among those saying they were angry with the federal government, Trump got roughly two-thirds of their votes, with Cruz and Kasich scrambling for the remainder.

Maryland Exit Poll: Clinton Wins With Broad Support

Hillary Clinton secured a resounding win over Bernie Sanders in Maryland today, and she did it with the backing of a diverse group of voters.

Results from the NBC News Exit Poll show Clinton getting support from three-quarters of black voters, and the same proportion of Democrats age 65 and older. About seven in 10 women voted for Clinton, as did six in 10 voters who describe themselves as “very liberal.” Clinton also locked in the support from nine in 10 voters who consider experience a prime candidate quality.

Younger voters continue to elude Clinton as they once again aligned overwhelmingly with Sanders. Among voters under age 30, only one-quarter voted for Clinton, while more than seven in 10 voted for Sanders. Still, Clinton made inroads with voters ages 30 to 44, with more than half casting votes for her. She won just over half of white voters and she split the vote with Sanders among white men today, a group that has supported Sanders in a majority of prior contests.

Maryland Exit Poll Results: In the Shadow of Capitol Hill, GOP Voters Negative on Federal Government

Sharing a border with Washington, D.C.—and home to many government agencies and offices—Maryland ranks second in the nation in terms of federal employees per capita. But that didn’t keep the state’s GOP presidential primary voters today from expressing sharply negative attitudes about how the federal government is working, early results from the NBC News Exit Poll show.

As has been the case in state after state throughout the primary process, it was difficult to identify many Maryland Republicans with anything positive to say about the federal government: Only about one in 10 said they were “satisfied” or “enthusiastic” about the way it’s working. Rather, about half of GOP voters pronounced themselves “dissatisfied”—and about another third said they were downright “angry”—with the government.

NBC News Exit Polls: Democrats Say Clinton Will Do Better Job on Gun Policies

One the more contentious issues debated by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is what kinds of policies are needed to address gun violence in the United States. Indeed, gun policy has become one of the few positions where Clinton is clearly to the left of Sanders.

According to the NBC News Exit Polls in three states on Tuesday, Democrats are clearly siding with Clinton’s position on how to approach reforms in national gun policies.

Overall, nearly six in 10 Democrats think Clinton would do a better job handling gun policy compared to just over one-third thinking Sanders can address this issue more effectively.

Pennsylvania Exit Poll Results: Campaign Leaves Most Republicans Feeling Divided—and Many Feeling Scared

With the contest for the GOP presidential nomination heading into the home stretch, Pennsylvania Republicans voting in the state’s primary today say the campaign has left them divided and unexcited, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll.

Asked about the campaign’s effect on the Republican Party, about six in 10 GOP voters were sour, saying the contest has “divided” their party. Only four in 10 said instead that it has “energized” the party.

The long contest has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Pennsylvania Republicans, as was clear when asked about how they would react to the idea of Ted Cruz, John Kasich, or Donald Trump becoming president. A substantial number of Republicans—more than four in 10 GOP voters—said at least one of these candidates would make them feel “scared” should he occupy the Oval Office.

Pennsylvania Exit Poll Results: Democrats Oppose Fracking

One of the most important elements of the United States’ recent surge in domestic energy production has been the use of hydraulic fracturing -- or “fracking” – to extract natural gas. Fracking is widely used in Pennsylvania and is an issue on which the Democratic candidates for president hold somewhat divergent positions. Bernie Sanders supports a nationwide ban on the practice, while Hillary Clinton proposes regulating it more strictly.

By a margin of more than two to one, Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania today say they oppose fracking. Overall, about two-thirds oppose the practice, while just a quarter favor it.

Supporters of both candidates oppose fracking – Clinton’s by a margin of about two-to-one and Sanders’ by more than three-to-one.

As these numbers would suggest, there is sizeable opposition to fracking among all demographic groups of Democratic voters, though better educated voters are somewhat more opposed than those with less education.

NBC News Exit Poll Results: Economy is the Top Issue for Democratic Voters

More than four in 10 Democrats casting votes in Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania today consider the economy and jobs to be the top issue facing the nation, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll.

Income inequality, a marquee issue for the Bernie Sanders campaign, ranks second overall among about two in 10 Democrats in the three states. Almost as many think health care is the most important national problem, while terrorism ranks much lower with only one in 10 citing it.

In Pennsylvania, Democrats were also asked how worried they are about the direction of the nation’s economy in the next few years. Despite record high numbers of Pennsylvanians now in the labor force, the state unemployment rate ticked up in March from 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent and the NBC News Exit Poll finds an electorate not feeling secure.

Among Pennsylvania Democrats voting Tuesday, more than four in 10 indicate they are “very worried” about the direction of the economy and nearly as many say they are “somewhat worried.” Only about one in 10 of Pennsylvania Democrats voting today report they are not worried about the U.S. economy.

Connecticut Exit Poll Results: Moderate GOP Voters Are Hard to Find

Connecticut was once the fabled home of well-off “country-club Republicans” who could be counted on to back more moderate policies than the national party. But early results from the NBC News Exit poll find most voters in the state’s GOP presidential primary calling themselves conservatives, expressing anger at the federal government and displaying a fair amount of antagonism toward Wall Street.

Only about a quarter of Connecticut Republicans voting today called themselves politically moderate; the great majority—about seven in 10—said they were either “very” or “somewhat” conservative. Nearly half said they were “angry” with the way the federal government is working; most of the remainder weren’t much happier, saying they were “disappointed” with the government.

And perhaps most surprisingly given the ties of much of the state to Wall Street and the financial industry, about four in 10 Connecticut Republicans said that Wall Street does more to “hurt the economy” than help it. They were only slightly outnumbered by GOP voters (about half) saying Wall Street helps the economy.

NBC News Exit Poll Results: How Voters Feel About Wall Street

For many voters in both parties this year, Wall Street has been emblematic of the negative impact of big institutions. Thus it’s not surprising to find that voters in three primary states today, on both sides of the political aisle, were divided or downright negative about Wall Street.

Among Republican voters in the three states, about four in 10 say Wall Street hurts the economy, while about half say it helps. Among Democratic voters, about six in 10 say Wall Street hurts the economy, while just one in three say it helps.

Bernie Sanders has hit Hillary Clinton over her ties to Wall Street, and it’s clear that his supporters are much more negative about the financial industry than are hers. About three-quarters of Sanders’ voters say Wall Street hurts the economy. That compares to just about half of Clinton voters.

On the GOP side, Donald Trump’s voters are more negative about Wall Street than are voters for the other two candidates. Half of Trump’s voters say Wall Street hurts the economy. Just one in three of those supporting John Kasich or Ted Cruz say this.

NBC News Exit Poll Results: Will the Republican Party Unify?

With John Kasich and Ted Cruz forming a public alliance to try to deprive Donald Trump of a majority of delegates before the convention, the question of how the GOP will unify the party for November looms ever larger. The NBC News Exit Poll today in three Republican primary states finds many voters threatening to withhold their support from the party’s nominee this fall, depending on the outcome of the nominating process.

Voters were asked if they would support each of the candidates in the fall. Kasich fared the best in this circular firing squad. More than a third of Trump voters said they wouldn’t vote for Kasich, but among Cruz voters only about one in five said they wouldn’t support him, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll.

Kasich voters did not return the favor, however. About half of them said they would not support Cruz. Many Trump voters – about half – said they wouldn’t vote for Cruz.

Overall, a majority of those who didn’t support Trump today say they won’t vote for him in the fall if he is the party’s nominee. That includes nearly two-thirds of Kasich voters and more than four in 10 Cruz voters.

The feelings of many Republican primary voters today can be summed up with a series of questions asked in Pennsylvania. At least four in 10 Pennsylvania voters said they would be either “concerned” or “scared” at the prospect of each of the candidates becoming president. That number was highest – a bit above half – for Cruz, and it was about half for Kasich. About four in 10 said they would be concerned or scared thinking about a Trump presidency – but of course, the number is much larger among those who didn’t vote for Trump today.

Pennsylvania Exit Poll Results: Democrats Divided on Trade

Pennsylvania Democratic primary voters today were closely divided over the issue of trade with other countries, according to early results from the NBC News Exit Poll. Over the past few decades, Pennsylvania has seen large numbers of jobs in manufacturing and the steel industry lost to foreign competition. About equal numbers of voters – just over four in 10 – took opposite sides on the question of whether trade creates more jobs or takes away more jobs.

Hillary Clinton’s voters were somewhat more positive about the effects of international trade, with about half saying trade creates more jobs. But many of her voters – about four in 10 – say trade loses more jobs.

Bernie Sanders’ voters tilt more against trade – half say it takes away U.S. jobs, and just over one in three say it creates more jobs.