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Exit poll: Arizona voters say economy is top concern

November 9, 2016 GMT
Voters wait for the polls to open early Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Voters wait for the polls to open early Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton battled for Arizona’s 11 electoral votes on Tuesday. In the final stretch of the campaign, Democrats had made a push to make the traditionally conservative state a battleground in this election, courting Hispanic voters.

There were two other big decisions on the ballot: A U.S. Senate race that John McCain, the Republican incumbent, won as he fended off a challenge from U.S. Rep Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat, as well as a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana that failed in the border state.

Here is a look at voters’ views, according to data from preliminary exit polling conducted in Arizona for The Associated Press and television networks.

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IT’S STILL THE ECONOMY

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Half of voters in Arizona identified the economy as their top concern, and nearly two-thirds had a negative opinion of it. Only 3 in 10 voters said the condition of the economy was good or excellent. Voters appeared split on whether Clinton or Trump was better positioned to handle the economy, with the Republican holding a slight lead.

Arizonans also identified the economy as the top issue facing the nation in 2012.

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IMMIGRATION

The smallest number of Arizona voters picked immigration when asked about the most pressing issue facing the country. Only about 1 in 10 in the border state said it was the most important issue, while nearly a fifth of voters said terrorism was their top concern.

A majority of Arizona voters rejected Trump’s calls for deporting immigrants who enter the country illegally, and the Republican’s proposal to build a wall along the entire U.S-Mexico border.

Three-quarters of voters in the border state said they supported a legal path to status for immigrants. Of those voters, more than half voted for Clinton and just more than a third voted for Trump.

Just more than half of Arizona voters opposed the idea of building a wall along the border.

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HISPANIC VOTE

Clinton sought help from Hispanics, who make up nearly a third of the state. Preliminary results showed six in 10 Hispanic voters surveyed supported Clinton, while half of white voters cast ballots for Trump.

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GENERATION GAP

Clinton had a big lead among younger voters 18 to 29 and a slight one among voters age 30 to 44, while Trump had a commanding lead among older voters. More than half of voters age 65 and older said they had cast a ballot for him.

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GENDER DIVIDE

Trump had a commanding lead among male voters, with half of men surveyed saying they had voted for the billionaire businessman. Clinton had a lead among women, but she and Trump were nearly tied among white college-educated women, a demographic many expected the Democrat to perform well among nationwide.

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SENATE

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Unlike Trump, U.S. Sen. John McCain held his own among women and young voters. U.S. Rep Ann Kirkpatrick had a lead among Hispanic voters, with more than half saying they cast their ballot for her, but it wasn’t enough for her to pull off a long-shot challenge to unseat the six-term senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee.

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POT PROPOSAL:

A ballot measure seeking to legalize recreational marijuana failed, as a large percentage of Republicans voted against it. Eight of 10 GOP voters surveyed said they opposed Proposition 205, which would have allowed adults 21 and over to possess an ounce of pot and grow up to six marijuana plants. Roughly 6 of 10 voters ages 18 to 44 backed the measure, while a majority of those older than 45 voted against it.

Men and college graduates were split on the measure, according to preliminary exit poll data.

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The survey of 1,802 Arizona voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research. This includes preliminary results from a survey of 1,802 voters who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 28 through Nov. 6. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.