-- Who turned out in Tuesday's Nebraska and West Virginia primaries and what motivated their votes?
The following is reportable as “preliminary” exit poll results from the West Virginia and Nebraska Republican primaries. Again, please note that exit poll results can and do change as additional data come in – sometimes substantially. Check back for updates.
It clearly was a Trump-oriented electorate. Eight in 10 GOP primary voters in West Virginia said they were excited or optimistic about what Trump would do in office if he were elected president, as did six in 10 in Nebraska. Nine in 10 in West Virginia, and more than eight in 10 in Nebraska, saw it as likely that Trump would beat Hillary Clinton in November – far greater confidence than West Virginia Democratic primary voters expressed about Clinton beating Trump.
In a Trump-Clinton matchup, nine in 10 in West Virginia and eight in 10 in Nebraska say they’d vote for Trump; nearly all the rest say they’d sit it out. That’s much greater the unity on the Republican side than seen previously. In the still-contested Democratic primary in West Virginia, by contrast, fewer than half say they’d vote for Clinton or Sanders vs. Trump, with about a third defecting to Trump and the rest saying they wouldn’t vote for either.
That said, hints of intraparty dissonance remained, even in these electorates. Three in 10 West Virginia GOP voters thought the party still would be divided in November, notable given the lack of non-Trump supporters who turned out. And it was even higher in Nebraska, where more than four in 10 Republican primary voters thought the party still would be divided.
Two-thirds of Republican primary voters in West Virginia and six in 10 in Nebraska made up their minds more than a month ago – on pace for record numbers of early deciders this year and very strong groups for Donald Trump in previous contests. They broadly voted for Trump in both states.
That wasn't the only reason Trump breezed through the uncontested Republican primary in West Virginia and Nebraska. In West Virginia, he won more than three-quarters of the vote among every major demographic group – including nearly nine in 10 of those early deciders. In Nebraska, the margins weren’t as lopsided, but commanding nonetheless.