Three out of four Marylanders who supported the ballot measure to allow same-sex marriage in the state also backed President Barack Obama, while more than half of those who opposed it supported Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to the preliminary results of exit polls conducted in Maryland for The Associated Press and the television networks. Among the other findings:
GAY MARRIAGE NOT AS SIMPLE AS BLACK OR WHITE
While many black church groups opposed Maryland's measure to legalize gay marriage, exit polls found that black voters were about split on the issue. White Marylanders voted slightly in favor of the question.
Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a gay marriage bill into law in March, but opponents collected enough signatures to force the issue onto the ballot, making the state one of four with referendums on the issue Tuesday. The others are Maine, Washington and Minnesota.
YOUNGER VOTERS MORE ACCEPTING OF GAY MARRIAGE
Younger voters were more likely to support the ballot question to legalize gay marriage.
The strongest support was among those under age 29, with less support from those age 30 to 44. The measure was opposed by voters over age 62.
FEDERAL DEFICIT, THE ECONOMY, HEALTH CARE AND THE WHITE HOUSE
Health care and the federal budget deficit were among the issues that most sharply divided supporters of Obama and Romney.
Those who said health care was the most important facing the country overwhelmingly supported the president. Those who said the federal budget deficit was the most important issue voted in favor of Romney. But those who said the economy was the top issue favored the president.
PARTY LINES FOR PRESIDENT
Obama was slightly ahead among independents. However, the president received more than 9 in 10 votes from self-identified Democrats. Romney got about the same share of the Republican vote, which comprised only a quarter of the turnout.
DEFICIT, ECONOMY KEY ISSUES FOR SENATE CHALLENGERS
The federal budget deficit played well with supporters of Sen. Ben Cardin's two challengers, Republican Dan Bongino and independent Rob Sobhani.
Among the nearly one in five voters who said the deficit was the most important issue facing the country, most supported Bongino or Sobhani.
The preliminary exit poll of 1280 Maryland voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research in a random sample of 20 precincts statewide. Results were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.