WASHINGTON (AP) — Preliminary results from a national exit poll in Tuesday's elections for The Associated Press and the television networks:
OBAMA HAS THE TOUCH
Voters had a more favorable view of President Barack Obama than Republican challenger Republican challenger Mitt Romney, and the president had a 10-point lead over Romney on the question of which candidate is more in touch with people like them. Of those holding that view, 91 percent voted for Obama.
On the other hand, most voters said that Romney's policies would generally favor the rich, while only 1 in 10 said that was the case for the president's policies. Seven in 10 voters said that Obama's policies generally favor the middle class or poor, while less than 4 in 10 said that about Romney's policies. Obama had hammered Romney during the campaign as someone whose proposed across-the-board tax cuts would mostly help the rich at the expense of everyone else.
There was an income split among voters: Obama won a majority of those whose family income was less than $50,000 last year, while Romney led among those with $50,000 or more.
GENDER AND GENERATION GAPS
Obama led by 11 percentage points among women, while Romney led among men. A majority of those under 45 voted for Obama, with people under 30 backing the president in especially large numbers. People 45 and over broke for Romney.
ECONOMY TOPS THE CHARTS
Fifty-nine percent of voters said the economy was the biggest issue facing the country, about the same percentage as 2008. Next were health care (18 percent) and the deficit (15 percent). A measly 5 percent said foreign policy was the top issue. Seventy-seven percent of voters called the economy not so good or poor. Voters split about equally on the question of which candidate would better handle the economy. And about half said former President George W. Bush is more to blame for the current economic problems, while 4 in 10 laid the blame with the current president.
BIGGEST ECONOMIC CONCERNS: JOBS AND PRICES
Just under 4 in 10 voters said unemployment was the biggest economic problem facing voters like them. Nearly as many called rising prices the biggest economic problem. Taxes and housing were a distant third and fourth, respectively.
OBAMA'S STORM SURGE
Forty-two percent of voters said that President Barack Obama's response to Superstorm Sandy was important in their vote for president, and, not surprisingly, most supported his re-election. The 54 percent who said it wasn't important in their vote mostly supported Romney.
"LATINO" ROMNEY MIGHT HAVE DONE BETTER WITH HISPANICS
Romney, who joked at a secretly recorded fundraiser that "it would be helpful to be Latino," won less than 3 of 10 Hispanic voters. Romney won big among white voters, taking nearly 6 of 10, while Obama won more than 9 of 10 black voters.
Obama lost every age group of white voters, including those 18 to 29, which he won by 10 points in 2008.
About 4 in 10 voters said the U.S. economy was getting better, while 3 in 10 said it was getting worse and 3 in 10 said it was the same.
About a quarter of voters said their family's financial situation is better than it was four years ago, while 4 in 10 reported it was about the same. Both groups supported Obama. One-third of voters said they were worse off, and they were voting for Romney.
MOST FAVOR TAX INCREASE
Six in 10 voters said that taxes should be increased, including nearly half of voters saying that taxes should be increased on income over $250,000, as Obama has called for. Just over one-third said taxes should not be increased for anyone. But more than 6 in 10 voters said taxes should not be raised to cut the budget deficit.
HEALTH CARE SPLIT
Just under 50 percent of voters favored repealing some or all of Obamacare. Forty-four percent preferred that the health care law be expanded or left as is.
NO TO DEPORTATION
Less than 3 in 10 voters said that most illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should be deported, while nearly two-thirds said such people should be offered a chance to apply for legal status.
MORE WOMEN AND DEMOCRATIC VOTERS
As usual, women voted in larger numbers, making up 53 percent of the vote. Democrats made up 38 percent of the vote, with 32 percent Republican and 29 percent independent or something else.
The survey of 26,565 voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research. This includes preliminary results from interviews conducted as voters left a random sample of 350 precincts nationally Tuesday, as well as 4,408 who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.
Follow Fred Frommer on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ffrommer