Exit Polls: Obama Makes Big Gains in Clinton's Core Support

McCain Makes Conservative Progress

On the Republican side, exit poll results indicated progress for McCain on the ideological front; he won conservatives, albeit by a narrow 48-44 percent; previously he'd won this group only in Maryland, New Jersey and New York (and split them in Illinois).

McCain won 39 percent of "very" conservative voters, his best showing in that group to date.

As usual, moderates carried him home; he won them by 70-25 percent.

McCain's improvement among conservatives, however, did not include evangelicals: Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, won them by 56-36 percent.

McCain's support among evangelicals was about average for him; he was helped by the fact that they accounted for many fewer GOP voters, 38 percent, than in the Southern states Huckabee has won.

There were other examples of McCain's continued challenges in the Republican base. Forty-two percent said he's "not conservative enough."

Voters by a wide margin were most attracted to a candidate who "shares my values," and Huckabee won them by 53-36 percent.

And Republicans who most strongly oppose abortion, saying it should be illegal in all cases, went for Huckabee by more than 2-1, 64-30 percent

At the same time McCain easily prevailed as the candidate most likely to improve U.S. relations with the rest of the world, and, by a 6-1 margin, as the one most likely to beat the Democratic nominee in the general election in November.

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