Trump's Path Stays Clearest; Clinton's, Perhaps More So (EXIT POLL)

Here's a rundown of the March 15 exit poll results.

ByABC News
March 16, 2016, 1:06 AM

— -- This much came clear in the March 15 presidential primaries: Many voters like Donald Trump, while many others don’t. John Kasich is popular in his home state, while Marco Rubio isn’t. Strong conservatives support Ted Cruz. And Hillary Clinton can win Midwestern primaries.

For Clinton, that might be enough, or close to it. For the Republicans, it might not; where that contest heads next remains what it was Tuesday morning: anybody’s guess, albeit with Trump’s path the clearest.

Here’s a rundown of the night’s exit poll results, analyzed for ABC News by Langer Research Associates.

The Republican Race

First and foremost, Trump demonstrated his enduring appeal to discontented Republican voters. Among the 52 percent seeking an outsider, his trademark attribute, he won a vast 69 percent support. Among those favoring deporting undocumented immigrants, it was 58 percent for Trump. Among those who are “angry” at the federal government, 54 percent.

He won majorities, as well, of those who favor temporarily banning Muslims from entering the country (66 percent of all GOP voters on Tuesday night) and who say they’re falling behind financially. He won 47 percent of anti-free trade voters and 44 percent of those “very worried” about the economy. All are impressive results in a multi-candidate race.

Trump, too, looks to have kept the contest triangulated in his favor: With Kasich to his moderate side, Cruz to his conservative right, he keeps marching down the plurality-populated middle.

Yet Trump displayed continued challenges. Among Republicans who did not vote for him Tuesday night, 61 percent said they’d seriously consider a third party candidate if it came down to Trump vs. Clinton in November. Indeed, in another question, 45 percent of non-Trump supporters flatly said they would not vote for him in November if he was the party’s nominee.

Part of this is policy based – as strong as he was among voters who agree with his key issues, Trump was weak among those who oppose them. Some, too, is more personal: Across the five states holding primaries, just 47 percent of GOP voters said they see Trump as honest and trustworthy. In four of these states (not asked in Missouri), 40 percent said he ran the most unfair campaign, nearly twice as many as the next, Ted Cruz.

And as in previous races, the single most-sought-after attribute among Republican voters was a candidate who “shares my values” – and again, hardly any of them voted for Trump. He came back, as always, on telling it “like it is” and pushing for change; but the question begs: Where values don’t match, can hearts and minds follow?

They didn’t in Ohio, where they loved the governor: Voters there were focused on shared values and supported Kasich by a smashing 64-22 percent over his nearest competitor on the issue, Cruz, with a typical 10 percent for Trump. The question is where Kasich goes from here; in all other states combined for which we have exit or entrance polls this year, he’s won vastly fewer values voters, a mere 15 percent.

Kasich, at least, lived to fight another day, unlike Rubio, flattened in his home state, where Trump won just about every group in town. Even in a hypothetical two-way matchup, Trump beat Rubio, and for the junior Florida senator that was all she wrote.