John Kerry (search) won primaries in Delaware, Missouri and Arizona tonight, but in South Carolina, where North Carolina's John Edwards (search) enjoyed favorite son status, Kerry came in a solid second. The Fox News exit poll found strong majorities of voters in all of tonight’s primary states said they would be satisfied if Kerry secured the nomination.
South Carolina Highlights
The night began with Edwards scoring a win in the state of his birth. Almost half (47 percent) of the voters were black, and they split their support 37 percent for Edwards, 34 percent for Kerry and 17 percent for Rev. Al Sharpton (search).
South Carolina was the one state tonight where veterans did not favor Kerry. Veterans split their votes 42 percent for Edwards and 33 percent for Kerry.
Jobs were a big campaign issue in South Carolina and 47 percent of voters said the economy/jobs was the issue that mattered most when they were deciding how to vote. Edwards wins handily among these voters, 52 percent to 26 percent for Kerry.
Earlier this season the Democratic candidates did not pay much attention to Missouri, even though it carried the largest Feb. 3 delegate prize, but with the state's Rep. Richard Gephardt’s withdrawal from the race after his poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, Missouri came into play. Kerry, with his momentum, money and message, easily carried the state.
Veterans, representing 24 percent of all voters in Missouri, strongly favored Kerry, with 55 percent to 20 percent for Edwards.
Seniors — 24 percent of Missouri’s electorate — also went to Kerry tonight, 60 percent to Edwards’ 24 percent.
Union members, who might have gone to Gephardt, broke 56 percent for Kerry to 21 percent for Edwards.
At this writing, the winner of the Oklahoma Democratic primary remains unknown, but retired Gen. Wesley Clark had hoped to win the state. The many veterans there split their votes 31 percent for Kerry, 29 percent for Clark and 25 percent for Edwards.
The highest level of approval for the U.S. decision to go to war with Iraq was found in Oklahoma. Thirty-nine percent approve of the decision and these voters split their support 32 percent for Edwards, 27 percent for Clark and 20 percent for Kerry.
Considering candidate qualities, voters who wanted a candidate who cares about people like them broke 42 percent for Edwards, 31 percent for Clark and 17 percent for Kerry. Those who sought someone who stands up for what he believes split 34 percent for Clark, 22 percent for Edwards and 19 percent for Kerry. Among those who were looking for a candidate who can beat President George W. Bush in November, 55 percent went for Kerry, with 21 percent for Edwards and 21 percent for Clark.
Important voting groups in Arizona include seniors, Hispanics and liberals. One-third of the voters were aged 65 or older. They gave Kerry 48 percent of their votes. Hispanics also favored Kerry, 43 percent to Clark’s 24 percent and Dean’s 20 percent. Kerry triumphed among the voters who labeled themselves "liberal" (50% of the voters). Liberals broke 46 percent for Kerry, 24 percent for Clark and 16 percent for Dean.
These exit polls were conducted for Fox News by Edison/Mitofsky. The South Carolina exit poll of 2,033 Democratic primary voters was conducted at 40 randomly selected polling locations. The Missouri exit poll of 1,400 Democratic primary voters was conducted at 35 randomly selected polling locations. The Oklahoma exit poll of 1,501 Democratic primary voters was conducted at 35 randomly selected polling locations. The Arizona exit poll of 2,093 Democratic primary voters was conducted at 35 randomly selected polling locations.
Click below for full results. Note there are no exit polls available for New Mexico or North Dakota.
• South Carolina, pdf
• Missouri, pdf
• Delaware, pdf
• Arizona, pdf
• Oklahoma, pdf