California By The Numbers

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Both George W. Bush and Al Gore coasted to victory Tuesday night among their respective primary voters in California, each buoyed by party loyalists, according to the CBS News Exit Poll. At poll closing, Bush was leading McCain in the popular vote as well. Monika McDermott of the CBS News Election And Survey Unit explains the results in the Golden State.


Bush's win over John McCain looked strikingly similar to his other wins so far - fueled primarily by conservatives and self-described Republicans. Sixty-six percent of conservatives supported Bush, as did 62 percent of self-described Republicans, compared to 26 percent and 33 percent of each for McCain. McCain's support came from self-described independents, and from moderate to liberal voters.

Part of McCain's problem in California was an image as a negative campaigner. Forty-six percent of registered Republican voters in California said that he had attacked Bush unfairly, while only 31 percent said that Bush had attacked McCain unfairly. Among those voters who thought McCain had gone on the attack, three-quarters supported Bush.

McCain also had ideological problems in California - many Republicans primary voters thought he wasn't conservative enough. Thirty-three percent of Republican primary voters said McCain was not conservative enough, and 43 percent said his positions are about right. In contrast, 66 percent of Republican primary voters said Bush's positions were about right for them.

Republican primary voters went to the polls looking for a candidate who would stand up for what he believes. Nearly one third of California's Republican primary voters sought this in a candidate, comparable to all of the previous primary states, but for the first time, these voters chose Bush as that candidate. Forty-three percent of those who prized a stand-up candidate voted for Bush, while only 37 percent chose McCain.


Gore trampled Bill Bradley in California's Democratic contest, largely due to his credentials as Bill Clinton's vice president. Gore won every voter group, some by more than a three-to-one margin. Gore performed especially well among minority voters, winning close to 90 percent of both blacks and Hispanics.

California Democrats are pleased with their current economic situation - which they view as better today than it was four years ago - and they rewarded Gore. Sixty percent said their family's economic situation is better now, and 82 percent of these voters supported Gore.

Gore also benefited from Clinton's overwhelming popularity among California Democratic primary voters: 90 percent approved of Clinton's job performance, and 60 percent said they view the president favorably. Among both of these groups of voters, Gore received around eight in ten votes.

Experience wathe candidate quality most prized by California's Democratic primary voters (31 percent chose it from a list of six qualities), and these voters were virtually unanimous in their Gore support.


Senator Dianne Feinstein was a big winner in California's open Senate primary, making her the certain Democratic nominee in November. On the Republican side, Representative Tom Campbell was the top vote-getter, winning the right to face Feinstein in the general election.

Feinstein won all voter groups except Republicans and conservatives. Among registered Republicans, Feinstein received 21 percent of the vote, enough to beat all of the Republican candidates except Campbell, who received 48 percent. Ray Haynes and Bill Horn each received around 15 percent of the registered Republican vote.


The "Limit on Marriages" initiative, which declares that only marriages between a man and a woman are legally binding, passed easily. The initiative was supported by Republicans, conservatives, and both Protestant and Catholic voters. Opposing the initiative were Democrats and liberals.

Voters who identified themselves as gay or lesbian also opposed the initiative, by an 85 percent to 15 percent margin.

The CBS News Exit Poll was conducted among 1,626 Democratic primary voters and 1,660 Republican primary voters as they left the polls on March 7. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus two points for both samples.

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