NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar appear to be locked in a close race for the lead in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, according to early exit polling on Tuesday from Edison Research.
The exit poll, which was released shortly before voting ended in New Hampshire but before all of the votes were counted, projects that about 26% of voters selected Sanders while 22% voted for Buttigieg and 21% voted for Klobuchar.
Actual totals will become available as more votes are counted.
Edison, which compiles exit polls and live election results for media organizations including ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News and Reuters, also found that most of the voters participating in the New Hampshire Democratic primary were “angry” with President Donald Trump and will vote for the Democratic nominee “regardless of who it is.”
Here are some highlights from the exit poll based on interviews with 2,610 New Hampshire primary voters at 45 different polling locations throughout the state.
— 83% of Democratic primary voters will support the party candidate in a run against Republican Trump in the Nov. 3 election.
— 79% said they were “angry” with the Trump administration, and 62% said they were largely backing a candidate who they thought could deprive Trump of a second term.
— 14% said they were participating in a presidential primary for the first time, about the same proportion of first-time Democratic primary voters in 2016. The lack of first-time voters suggests that turnout at the state’s nominating contest may not surpass what it was in 2016.
— 31% of people who either belong to a union or have family members who do voted for Sanders, while 23% voted for former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden, who was endorsed this month by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, was expected to receive strong backing from union voters.
— 27% of minority voters backed Sanders while 21% supported Biden. Hispanics and African Americans will make up large portions of the electorate in the next Democratic nominating contests in Nevada and South Carolina.
— 50% of the state’s Democratic primary voters said they decided which candidate to pick within the last few days. That is about twice as many as in 2016, when they were choosing between Sanders, who won the primary four years ago, and the eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton.
— 29% said a female nominee would have a tougher time beating Trump, while 10% said it would be easier for a woman to win. Another 59% said the candidate’s gender made no difference.
— 80% said that age was not an important factor for them when deciding which candidate to support. The Democratic field includes four candidates who are in their 70s: Biden, Sanders, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Bloomberg News founder Michael Bloomberg. Buttigieg is 38, just three years over the required minimum age to run for U.S. president.
Edison, a Somerville, New Jersey-based exit polling firm, has been providing election-day poll data to a consortium of news organizations through the National Election Pool since 2004.
Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Grant McCool and Cynthia Osterman