Noteworthy Nuggets from Super Tuesday

The Edison Research exit polls contain a plethora of noteworthy nuggets of information.  Here are a few additional data points from the Super Tuesday Democratic primaries. 

The Black and Latino Vote
In blog posts after the Democratic contests in South Carolina and Nevada, we’ve wondered how African Americans and Latinos vote would on Super Tuesday. Now thanks to the Edison exit polls we have the answers. 

Three days before Super Tuesday, Joe Biden won among African American voters in South Carolina. He continued to win them with strong majorities in the Super Tuesday states as well – especially in southern states, where he won them with enormous margins. 

After winning Latino voters in Nevada, Bernie Sanders also won them in Massachusetts, Texas and California.  He did especially well with this voting group in California, garnering 49% of their support. 

Voters were also asked which candidate best understands the concerns of racial and ethnic minorities. Among all voters in the states in which the question was asked, Biden came out ahead, and he was the overwhelming choice among black voters. Sanders came out on top among Latino voters. 

Late Deciders 
Joe Biden surpassed expectations on Super Tuesday, and late-deciding voters helped propel his strong performance. With Monday’s endorsements from prominent candidates who dropped out, 30% of voters across all twelve states said they made their minds up who to vote for in the last few days, including 10% who decided on election day. Those late deciders went heavily for Biden. 

Electability 
Last, some exit poll data about electability. As seen in the Edison exit polls in earlier states, Democratic primary voters have consistently prioritized a candidate who can beat President Trump over one with whom they agree on the issues.  That was true on Super Tuesday as well, by nearly two to one: 63% preferred a candidate who can beat Trump, while 34% were looking for a candidate whose issue positions match theirs. 

In eleven states, voters were asked which candidate they thought would be most electable in November. Biden came in at the top, with 37%, followed by Sanders at 28%. 

While the field has narrowed sharply in the last few days, the race for the Democratic nomination is far from over. Next week, voters in Michigan, as well as Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington will weigh in. Both Biden and Sanders have laid claim to working class voters; Michigan’s exit poll data in particular may tell us which candidate has best connected with these voters. 

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