In Arizona, Hispanics were 8 percent of the electorate. Thirty-eight percent voted for Romney, 23 percent for Santorum, and 20 percent for Gingrich. The top issue in the poll was the economy (49 percent), followed by the budget deficit (30 percent), illegal immigration (13 percent), and abortion (6 percent).
Attitudes in Arizona and elsewhere about illegal immigrants appear to be softening. Thirty-four percent of respondents said most illegal immigrants working in the United States should be offered a chance to apply for citizenship, 28 percent said they should be allowed to stay as temporary workers, and 34 percent said they should be deported. In 2008, those responses were 24, 29, and 44 percent respectively.
Forty-eight percent of working women in Arizona, a category the exit pollsters broke out for the first time, voted for Romney. Twenty-seven percent voted for Santorum.
Sixty-four percent of Arizonans supported the Tea Party. They supported Romney 43 percent to Santorum’s 31 percent.
Mormons were 14 percent of the electorate, and as expected, they voted overwhelmingly for Romney.
In Arizona, Santorum was voted the “true conservative.” Fifteen percent of voters said that was the most important candidate quality for them. Forty percent said beating Obama was their top quality. Fifty-six percent of those voters selected Romney. Fifty-seven percent in another question said Romney was most likely to defeat Obama.
Fifty-three percent had a favorable opinion of John McCain. Forty percent had an unfavorable opinion.
The Arizona electorate was more conservative than in 2008. Four years ago, 66 percent identified as conservative. Of those, 30 percent said they were very conservative. This year, 74 percent identified as conservative, with 38 percent identifying as very conservative.
As he did in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, Ron Paul won the vote of the youngest age group in the poll.
Thirty-one percent reported that someone in their household had been laid off in the last three years. They voted for Romney over Santorum by 42 to 36 percent.
Working women in the GOP primary were 21 percent of the electorate. They narrowly supported Romney over Santorum, 40 to 38 percent. Married voters narrowly and unmarried voters more widely supported Romney.
Santorum won the votes of the 30 percent of primary voters who said they were very conservative. Romney won the crucial somewhat conservative vote and the moderate to liberal vote.
Tea Party support was more tepid in Michigan than Arizona. Fifty-two percent supported the movement. Santorum won voters who strongly supported the Tea Party movement (28 percent of the electorate) and those who strongly opposed the movement (12 percent of the electorate).
Catholics supported Romney over Santorum, 44 to 37 percent.
Santorum won the votes of the 16 percent of voters who said being a true conservative was the most important quality to them (58 to 18 percent for Romney). Romney won the vote of those who said being able to defeat Obama was the most important quality (32 percent of voters).
Only 35 percent of the electorate said the recent debate was the most important factor in their vote. Romney won this group by five points over Santorum. Sixty percent said the debate was not the most important factor and they narrowly supported Santorum, 40 percent to Romney’s 38 percent. In general, Santorum won among voters who said they decided how they were going to vote in the past few days. Those who had decided earlier supported Romney.