WASHINGTON – Voters in New Hampshire's primary are deeply unhappy with the federal government, and many Republican voters are down on politicians from their own party, according to early results of the exit poll conducted by Edison Research for the Associated Press and television networks.
Republican voters say the economy, government spending and terrorism are the most important issues facing the country. Democratic primary voters say the economy and income inequality are most important.
A closer look at the mood of the electorate:
ANGER, BETRAYAL AND OUTSIDERS
Half of Democratic voters said they're dissatisfied with the way government is working, with another 1 in 10 saying they're angry. That's even higher among Republican primary voters, with 9 in 10 voters saying they're either dissatisfied or angry.
Republicans are much more negative about their politicians than Democrats are about theirs. Half of Republicans said they feel betrayed by politicians from the Republican Party, while less than 2 in 10 Democrats say they feel betrayed by Democratic politicians.
Republican voters say they are more interested in nominating a candidate from outside the political establishment than Democrats. Republicans are evenly divided: nearly half preferred someone with experience and about the same number say they favored an outsider. In comparison, about 7 in 10 Democrats said they want a candidate who has experience in politics; about a quarter want someone outside the political establishment.
New Hampshire primary voters' independent streak often sets them apart from voters in other states, but they appear to be less of a factor this time around.
When President Barack Obama was running for re-election in 2012 and there was no contested Democratic primary, self-identified independents made up nearly half (47 percent) of the Republican primary voters in New Hampshire. In 2008, when Hillary Clinton was running against Obama, 44 percent of Democratic primary voters said they were independent.
On Tuesday, there were slightly fewer independents at either primary. About 4 in 10 Republican voters identified themselves as independent as did just about as many Democratic voters.
About three quarters of GOP voters say they're very worried about the economy, while 6 in 10 say they're very worried about terrorism. On the Democratic side, only about a quarter say they're worried about each.
Three in 10 Republican voters say the economy is the most important issue facing the country. That's similar to the percentages who say government spending and terrorism are the most important issues.
Three in 10 Democratic primary voters said the economy was the most important issue facing the country, while a similar share said income equality was most important.
The economy, government spending and terrorism were the top issues chosen by Republicans as the most important facing the country, while less than 2 in 10 said immigration was the top issue.
More than half of GOP voters say immigrants currently in the country illegally should be offered a chance to apply for legal status, and two-thirds of GOP voters say they support a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
About a third of Republican voters said the most important quality in a candidate is someone who shared their values, while about the same proportion said it was someone who could bring about needed change.
Democratic voters said honesty, experience and someone who cares about people like them were the most important qualities in a candidate
Even so, most voters in both primaries said they made their vote decisions based on candidates' positions on issues rather than personal qualities.
The voters in New Hampshire have grown apart ideologically over the past several presidential elections. Four years ago, 53 percent of voters in the New Hampshire Republican primary described themselves as conservative. On Tuesday, three-quarters of the voters in the Republican primary said they were conservative.
Similarly, 56 percent of voters in the 2008 Democratic primary said their political ideology was liberal; on Tuesday two-thirds of Democratic voters consider themselves liberal.
The survey was conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks by Edison Research as voters left their polling places at 44 randomly selected sites in New Hampshire. Preliminary results include interviews with 1,434 Democratic primary voters and 1,257 Republican primary voters and have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.