Posted Tuesday, November 6, 2012 --- 12:14 p.m.
By The Associated Press
President Barack Obama prevailed in voting in Wisconsin, and Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin defeated former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson a U.S. Senate seat that's been held by Democrats since 1957. Here's a look at what helped drive voters' decisions, according to a preliminary exit poll conducted in Wisconsin for The Associated Press:
WOMEN AND MINORITIES KEY FOR OBAMA
Obama secured the state's 10 electoral votes thanks to strong assistance from women and blacks while apparently losing narrowly to Republican challenger Mitt Romney among men. He also was clearly preferred over Romney by voters under age 40, college graduates and those with family incomes under $50,000. Romney had strong backing from voters in their 40s and 65 and over, those with family incomes of at least $100,000 and Protestant and other Christian voters. As expected, Obama won big in Milwaukee County and the Madison area, while Romney was strong in the Milwaukee suburbs and the rest of southeastern Wisconsin.
UNDER-30s HELP TAMMY TAKE TOMMY
Baldwin won strong support from women and voters under 30, while roughly splitting the 30-and-over vote, lifting her past Thompson. The former governor drew more support from whites, those with family incomes over $100,000, and Christian and born-again voters. Baldwin will be the first openly gay senator. She still managed to gain the support of one in four white born-agains, traditionally conservative on social issues.
JOBLESSNESS A PROBLEM
Asked to name the biggest economic problem facing "people like you," four in 10 Wisconsin voters cited unemployment, more than any other issue. Rising prices were singled out by about three in 10, taxes by two in 10.
BUSH BLAMED FOR ECONOMIC WOES
Voters blamed former President George W. Bush for current economic problems more than they did Obama. About half blamed Bush, while four in 10 said Obama was at fault. Seven in 10 voters said the economy is in not-so-good or poor condition.
AUTO BAILOUT ENDORSED
About half of voters surveyed approved of the federal government's aid to U.S. automakers, compared with just four in 10 who said they disapproved.
ECONOMY BY FAR THE NO. 1 ISSUE
A majority of Wisconsin voters said the economy is the most important issue facing the country. One in five voters cited health care reform as the top issue, while nearly as many singled out the federal budget deficit.
DIVIDED ON HEALTH CARE REFORM
Voters were almost evenly split when asked what should happen to the 2010 health care law. About half said it should be expanded or left as it is. Close to the same number said it should be partially or fully repealed.
RYAN RATES WITH VOTERS
Republican Rep. Paul Ryan got a thumbs-up from voters. About half of those surveyed said they had a favorable opinion of the congressman from Janesville, including one in eight who said they voted for Obama. Four in 10 said they had an unfavorable view of Ryan.
The survey of 3,845 Wisconsin voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research. This includes preliminary results from interviews conducted as voters left a random sample of 50 precincts statewide Tuesday, as well as 502 who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 25 through Nov. 2. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.