EXIT POLLS: Economy Looms Over Obama-McCain Presidential Race

New Mexico

Hispanic:This is the first presidential election in which Hispanic voters were a decisive factor in the state's vote. Forty percent of voters were Hispanic, up from 32 percent in 2004. And Obama won them 68-31 percent, a much larger advantage (37 points) than Kerry's 12 point gap in 2004, and more like Gore's 34 point lead over Bush in 2000. One in five Hispanic voters in New Mexico said race was an important factor and they voted for Obama 75 percent to McCain's 23 percent. Hispanic voters were predominantly young -- 30 percent aged 18-29 -- and they voted 84-15 percent for Obama. All the more remarkable given that Obama lost them to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary back in February.

Party ID: The Republican Party lost strength in this election. Forty-five percent of voters call themselves Democrats – up from 40 percent in 2004. But Republican party identification has dropped off from 33 percent to 28 percent. That's the smallest recorded GOP share of the vote back to 1988. Independents voted for Obama 53-43

Polls Closing at 10 p.m. ET


Rural Voters/Ethanol: McCain's call for trimming pork from the farm bill is not popular to those who receive that largess. And even more controversial is his opposition to ethanol subsidies. The Obama campaign has tried hard to exploit these positions to make inroads in rural areas. Obama has opened dozens of offices and has actively courted farmers. Nearly six in 10 were rural voters in the last presidential election. Watch rural voters and whether their views on ethanol affect their votes.

Age: One in five voters is older than 65. While these voters have been a strong Democratic group in the last three elections, McCain's campaign is hoping they will vote for one of their own.

Born Again: White evangelicals were 33 percent of the vote here in 2004.


Party ID: When Clinton won this state in 1992, Democrats outvoted Republicans, making up 34 percent of the electorate to the GOP's 32 percent. By 2004, the GOP had flipped that and built a seven-point party ID advantage, with 39 percent of voters calling themselves Republican to the Democrats' 32 percent. Since then, Montana has elected a Democratic governor and two Democratic senators. Which trend will continue?

Guns: The National Rifle Association has been telling voters that Obama is a "poster child of the extremist, elitist gun-control movement." Montana's Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, tells them Obama "ain't ever going to take your gun away." Gun rights are an important issue and one voters believe may be key to this state.

Ron Paul: He's on the ballot here as a Constitution Party candidate and pre-election polls showed him drawing as much as 4 percent. When he was running for the GOP presidential nomination, Paul finished second in Montana's caucus -- better than McCain.


Hispanic: McCain's work on immigration offers him some opportunities with this group. And as in New Mexico, Obama lost this key group to Clinton in the Democratic caucus. In 2004, Hispanics cast 10 percent of the vote and went for Kerry 60 percent to 39 percent.

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