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Minnesota exit poll: Gender gap decides amendment

Associated Press Modified: November 7, 2012 at 2:02 am •  Published: November 7, 2012

President Barack Obama and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar posted victories in Minnesota, while a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage was defeated Tuesday night. Here's a look at results from an exit poll conducted in Minnesota for The Associated Press:



A distinct gender gap divided voters on the proposed amendment to define marriage as only between a man and a woman, and women's opposition appeared to make the difference. Men were solidly in favor of the amendment, according to exit polling, but women voted against it by a larger margin. Voters under age 50 also were against it by a substantial majority, while those over 50 were strongly in favor. Seven in 10 voters who attend religious services and four out of five born-again or evangelical voters favored the amendment, as did three in four Republicans. Reflecting the partisan split, three in four Democrats voted against. Heavy opposition in the Twin Cities also proved important, with six in 10 voters there voting "No."



Obama lost the support of male voters from his 2008 victory in the state but was backed by 60 percent of women, 63 percent of voters under age 30, a majority of those with family incomes of up to $100,000, and three-quarters of those who said that health care reform is the most important issue. Urban backing also worked to his advantage; he carried the Twin Cities easily (62 percent) while losing the collar counties and maintaining a competitive showing elsewhere.



Klobuchar easily secured a second term by prevailing over Kurt Bills in every region of the state, every age group and among most other demographic groups. Bills lost the backing of nearly a quarter of his fellow Republicans. He was preferred by three-quarters of self-described conservatives, a majority of white evangelical voters and three-fifths of those who voted for the marriage amendment.



Health care reform, foreign policy and other campaign flashpoints were dwarfed by the economy on Election Day. About six in 10 Minnesota voters said the economy is the most important issue facing the country — three times more than any other issue. The federal budget deficit and health care reform were named by two in 10 or less.



Financial progress on the home front since the last presidential election has been limited, according to a majority of Minnesota voters. About three in 10 said their family's financial situation is worse now than four years ago, and another four in 10 said it's no better. Only a quarter said they are better off today than in 2008.



Minnesota voters are divided on government's role. Close to half said they think the government should do more to solve problems. But a like amount said they agreed with the statement "Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals."


The exit poll of 1,671 Minnesota voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research in a random sample of 25 precincts statewide. Results were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.



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