Virginia Exit Polling Shows Obama Lost Support
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And we're going to be checking in a lot tonight with Andy Kohut of the Pew Research Center, who's here with us now to talk about early exit polls. Andy, what are you seeing, first of all, in terms of the presidential race?
ANDREW KOHUT: Well, in terms of the presidential race in Virginia, four years ago, Obama won the popular vote, and the exit poll has it pretty even. And if you look across all of the demographic voting blocs, Obama has lost support in most of them but the concentrations have been his decline in - among men, a big decline, a six-point decline; among whites, a five-point decline. He has less support among the Latinos, although his black support remains the same. And, by the way, black participation and Latino participation is at about the level of four years ago.
But middle-income voters are less inclined in Virginia to support Obama than they were four years ago. So we don't see any places where Obama's picked up any support compared to four years ago, but we see a lot of these key supports, and the biggest one. And this is what we're seeing in other places is a decline in support among independents. The independent vote went breaking 41 to 53 in favor of Governor Romney in the state of Virginia.
BLOCK: And I think last time overall, Barack Obama got 52 percent of the independent vote, is that right?
KOHUT: Yes, that's right.
BLOCK: What about the - what are you saying in terms of the women's vote? Barack Obama benefited hugely from the gender gap four years ago. What are you seeing now?
KOHUT: Well, we have a gender gap - women, 52 to 47 in favor of Obama. But that's no different than what we - there's no greater female support for him. But there's less male support. And that's so much the pattern in so many of these demographic groups.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And as you're describing, all of these groups with whom Obama has slipped since four years ago, his margin of victory four years ago, the overall?
SIEGEL: So he has some room there. He could lose in some of these groups and still eke out a win in Virginia. It's still possible.
KOHUT: Yeah. It's still possible. It's very even. And this is, of course, a poll. It's not a measure of - it's not a vote count. So we may still have an Obama plurality. But right now, what's clear is he's getting a lot less support among key groups compared to four years ago.
SIEGEL: One of the mysteries about the Election Day is, is the turnout really any bigger than it was a couple of years ago or four years ago? Can we tell yet? Can you tell until all the votes are counted?
KOHUT: It's really too early to talk about what the turnout is. What we can say is about the composition of the vote. And it really doesn't look that different. For example, black support - black participation is very high, 21 percent. Latino is about the same, about 4 percent.
BLOCK: Andy, thanks so much. And we'll be talking to you again.
BLOCK: That's Andy Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. Lynn?
LYNN NEARY, HOST:
Thanks very much. That was Melissa Block and Robert Siegel who are about to get NPR's special coverage of the election underway. It begins on many member stations at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. And you can also find results and analysis at our website, that's npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.