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Entrance polls: Democrats divided by age, ideology

Democratic caucus-goers waited to sign in ahead of the party caucus in precinct 317 at Valley Church.Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic caucus-goers were deeply divided by age and ideology, with younger participants in the Iowa caucus supporting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and older voters turning out for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Republicans who said they want a candidate who shares their values propelled Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to victory on the GOP side, according to the entrance poll of those arriving at caucus sites conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.

Here’s a closer look at the attitudes of the electorate:

Deeply divided Democrats

More than 8 in 10 Democratic participants under 30 supported Sanders, as did 6 in 10 of those between 30 and 44. But nearly 6 in 10 caucus-goers between 45 and 64 and 7 in 10 of those 65 and older came out to support Clinton.


Sanders has worked hard to appeal to younger voters with his populist campaign focused on issues including income inequality and affordable college.

A majority of caucus attendees who identified as Democrats came to support Clinton. But among the 2 in 10 Democratic caucus-goers identifying as independents, 7 in 10 favored Sanders.

Clinton was favored by 6 in 10 moderates and Sanders by 6 in 10 of those who said they are very liberal, while those who were somewhat liberal narrowly favored Clinton. Women were more likely to support Clinton, while men were more likely to support Sanders.

Six in 10 non-white participants supported Clinton, but they accounted for just 1 in 10 caucus attendees.

Clinton won strong support among those who wanted a candidate who could beat the Republican nominee and who had experience, while Sanders was supported by large margins among those wanting a candidate who is honest or cares about people like them.

Values count

More than 4 in 10 Republicans arriving at caucus sites said the candidate quality that mattered most in their vote was that the candidate shares their values. Among those who said so, Cruz won the support of nearly 4 in 10, versus just 2 in 10 for Rubio and less than 1 in 10 for Trump.


Trump edged out Cruz to gain the support of the 2 in 10 wanting a candidate who can bring needed change, while Rubio was the top choice of the 2 in 10 who said they want a candidate who can win in November.

Two-thirds of those who wanted a candidate who ‘‘tells it like it is’’ supported Trump, but that quality lagged behind the others as the most desirable.

Cruz was the top choice among very conservative caucus-goers, while Trump was the top choice of moderates. Those who said they were somewhat conservative split between Rubio and Trump, followed by Cruz.

Voter discontent

Four in 10 Republicans said they are angry and half say they’re dissatisfied with the federal government. Angry caucus-goers were split between Trump and Cruz as their top candidate.

GOP caucus-goers were split between those wanting an outsider versus someone with political experience. Trump was the top candidate of those who preferred an outsider, while those preferring someone with experience were split between Rubio and Cruz.

Trump and Cruz both have been trying to tap into voter discontent on the campaign trail.

Biggest issues

Government spending was the top issue for just over 3 in 10 Republicans, followed closely by the economy and terrorism. Just over 1 in 10 said they cared most about immigration.


A third of Democratic caucus-goers said the economy is the top issue facing the nation, while about the same proportion chose health care and slightly fewer said income inequality. Less than one in 10 said terrorism is the top issue.

More than half of Democratic caucus-goers want a candidate who will continue President Barack Obama’s policies.

First timers and late deciders

Over 4 in 10 Democrats say they’re first-time caucus attendees. Six in 10 first-timers favored Sanders, while 6 in 10 previous caucus attendees favored Clinton.

Nearly half of Republicans were first-time caucus-goers, and they tended to support Trump. But Cruz supporters were slightly more likely than those supporting Trump or Rubio to say they were contacted about caucusing for their candidate.

Forty-five percent of GOP voters said they decided on a candidate in the last week, and they broke for Cruz and Rubio over Trump.

The survey was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research as voters arrived at 40 randomly selected sites for Democratic and Republican caucuses in Iowa. The survey includes preliminary results from interviews with 1,660 Democratic caucus-goers and 1,794 Republican caucus-goers. The survey had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points for both Democrats and Republicans, with higher margins of error for subgroups.