CBS News early Illinois exit polls: 4 in 10 Romney, Santorum voters "have reservations"

Molly Mintus of Bloomington, Ill. casts her ballot with help from election judge Mike Powell, at Trinity Lutheran Church, in Blooomington on Tuesday March 20, 2012. Voters around the state went to the polls for the Republican Party primary and other state and local races. Steve Smedley,AP Photo/The Pantagraph

Molly Mintus of Bloomington, Ill. casts her ballot with help from election judge Mike Powell, at Trinity Lutheran Church, in Blooomington on Tuesday March 20, 2012. Voters around the state went to the polls for the Republican Party primary and other state and local races.
Molly Mintus of Bloomington, Ill. casts her ballot with help from election judge Mike Powell, at Trinity Lutheran Church, in Blooomington on Tuesday March 20, 2012. Voters around the state went to the polls for the Republican Party primary and other state and local races.
Steve Smedley,AP Photo/The Pantagraph

Chart - Best Describes your Vote
CBS

(CBS News) More than four in ten of the people who voted for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in Tuesday's GOP primary in Illinois "have reservations" about their choice, according to early CBS News exit polls.

Forty-seven percent of Romney voters "strongly" favor their candidate, as do 44 percent of Santorum voters. But 41 percent of Romney voters and 44 percent of Santorum voters say they have concerns about their choice. Another one in ten supporters of each candidate say they dislike the other candidates.

The exit polls also found that two in three Illinois GOP voters would prefer that their candidate win the nomination even if the race goes on a long time. Twenty-nine percent said they would prefer that the race end soon even if it means their candidate loses.

As in other states, Illinois GOP voters overwhelmingly cited the economy as their top issue. Fifty-six percent pointed to the economy. That was followed by the federal budget deficit at 26 percent, abortion at 12 percent and illegal immigration at four percent.

One in five Illinois GOP voters say the economy is starting to recover, while one in three say it is stagnant. Nearly half - 46 percent - say the economy is getting worse.

The ability to defeat President Obama was the most cited candidate quality by Illinois GOP voters, chosen by 37 percent of respondents. One in four said the top concern was that the candidate have strong character, 20 percent sought a true conservative, and 18 percent wanted a candidate with the right experience.

One in three GOP voters said they decided on their candidate in the last few days. Sixty-eight percent said they decided earlier than that.

Four in ten said campaign ads were an important factor in their decision, while 59 percent said the ads were not important. According to a Campaign Media Analysis Group analysis, Romney and the super PAC backing him outspent Santorum and the super PAC backing him 18-1 on television ads in Illinois.

These results reflect early exit poll findings. More exit poll results will be released when the polls close in Illinois at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 7:00 p.m. Central.

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