Nevada Entrance Poll Analysis: Trump Rides Wave of Anger to Projected Victory

Who turned out in the Republican Nevada caucuses and what motivated their votes?

ByABC News
February 24, 2016, 12:00 AM

— -- A new high in desire for an outsider candidate vaulted Donald Trump to a sweeping victory in the Nevada Republican caucuses, completing a three-contest hat trick for the New York billionaire – first New Hampshire, then South Carolina, now Nevada.

Six in 10 caucus-goers in entrance poll results said they were looking for someone from outside the political establishment, compared with about half in previous contests. And a smashing 71 percent of them voted for Trump, a record for his populist campaign among outsider voters.

Six in 10 also described themselves as angry at the way the federal government is working, compared with four in 10 in the previous three states to hold nominating contests this year. Trump won half of these angry voters in Nevada, slightly more than previously. That said, he also easily won voters who were dissatisfied rather than angry – a sign of his broad strength in the state.

Turnout among evangelicals was up from Nevada caucuses in previous years – 39 percent, vs. 24 percent in 2008 and 28 percent in 2012. As with outsider and angry voters, Trump had his best showing to date among evangelicals, winning four in 10 of their votes, vs. an average of three in 10 in earlier contests.

Cruz, who won evangelicals in Iowa and ran competitively among them in New Hampshire and South Carolina, lost them to Trump in Nevada by 15 percentage points – Trump’s largest margin among evangelicals this year. Cruz, in a serious blow, also failed to beat Rubio among evangelicals.

Somewhat fewer than in the 2012 Nevada caucuses described themselves as “very” conservative – 39 percent now vs. about half four years ago. Trump won 38 percent in this group vs. 34 percent for Cruz – another challenge for Cruz, who won strong conservatives in South Carolina and Iowa alike.

As in other states, a candidate who “shares my values” was the most desired attribute, cited by three in 10 caucus-goers. It again was a strong group for Cruz – he won 42 percent of these values voters – and a weak one for Trump (he won just two in 10).

A quarter instead cited electability in November as the top attribute, and this group lifted Rubio’s total; 51 percent of them backed him, vs. a third for Trump and just 11 percent for Cruz.