A clear majority of those attending the Nevada caucuses want the next president to be from outside the political establishment, driving businessman Donald Trump to victory.
The 6 in 10 caucus-goers who said they prefer an outsider over someone with political experience was a higher percentage than in any other GOP primary or caucus so far, according to the entrance poll conducted for the Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research.
But in a silver lining for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, he earned majority support from those who’d rather have the next president be someone with political experience. That made him the first candidate to consolidate that support in any early primary or caucus state.
A closer look at Nevada Republican caucus-goers:
Among those arriving at Nevada’s Republican caucuses Tuesday, nearly 6 in 10 said they are angry at the way the government is working, according to the entrance poll. Another third of caucus attendees said they are dissatisfied with the government.
That means Nevada caucus-goers were significantly angrier than Republicans in earlier primary and caucus states. Only about 4 in 10 of those participating in Iowa’s caucuses or New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries said they were angry.
Trump was supported by about half of the angry Nevada caucus attendees. Among those who said they were merely dissatisfied, Trump held a somewhat smaller lead over Rubio, with Trump supported by about 4 in 10 and Rubio by about a third.
Nevada caucus-goers were also significantly more likely than those in earlier voting states to want a political outsider as the next president, and those who did overwhelmingly supported Trump. More than half of those wanting someone with political experience supported Rubio.
EVANGELICALS GIVE NO BUMP TO CRUZ
About 4 in 10 Nevada caucus-goers were born-again Christians, but they failed to give much of a bump to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has campaigned hard for their support. In fact, about 4 in 10 of them supported Trump. Even Rubio caught Cruz among that group, with about a quarter of evangelicals supporting each.
Cruz came closest to Trump among those calling themselves very conservative, who accounted for about 4 in 10 caucus-goers. But Trump was supported by half of those who said they were only somewhat conservative, and more than half of moderates.
TRUMP FOR CHANGE, RUBIO FOR ELECTABILITY
Trump was supported by an overwhelming majority — nearly 9 in 10 — of those caring most about having a candidate who “tells it like it is” and by 6 in 10 who wanted a candidate who can bring change. Rubio was supported by about half those who cared most about electability.
Cruz was favored among those wanting someone who shares their values, but by a narrower margin — about 4 in 10 supported him, while about a quarter supported Rubio and 2 in 10 supported Trump.
About 3 in 10 said the quality that mattered most in choosing a candidate was someone who shared their values. That’s slightly more than said they want a candidate who can win in November or who can bring change, each chosen by about a quarter of caucus attendees.
OLDER AND NON-COLLEGE CAUCUS GOERS BIG FOR TRUMP
Nearly half of Nevada caucus-goers over age 45 said they came to support Trump, but his margin of victory was somewhat narrower among those under 45, with about 4 in 10 saying they supported him. Another 3 in 10 of those under 45 said they supported Rubio, and about a quarter supported Cruz.
About half of caucus attendees without a college degree supported Trump, compared with 4 in 10 college grads.
Among those who decided who to support in the last week, about 4 in 10 supported Rubio, while about a quarter supported Trump and Cruz.
But a majority of those deciding before the last week supported Trump, and they accounted for about 7 in 10 caucus attendees.
IMMIGRATION, ECONOMY KEY TO VICTORY
Caucus attendees were most likely to say the top issues facing the country are the economy or government spending, each listed by about 3 in 10. Immigration and terrorism were each chosen by slightly fewer — about 2 in 10.
Trump was supported by about 6 in 10 of those who said they care most about immigration, and nearly half of those who said they care most about the economy. Among those who cared most about terrorism, about a third supported Trump and a third supported Rubio. Those who cared most about government spending were slightly more likely to support Trump than Rubio or Cruz.
The survey was conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks by Edison Research as Republican voters arrived at 25 randomly selected caucus sites in Nevada. The results include interviews with 1,573 Republican caucus-goers and have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
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