Harwich High School exit poll results show Obama, Warren, as winners

Keating ahead of Sheldon, Flynn & Lyons hold on too


   There were lots of political posters waving at the heavy crowds of voters who faced a half-hour wait at the Harwich Community Center this morning, November 6, 2012. Pat Brooks photo. 

Once again, the Harwich High School students in John Dickson's government class conducted exit polls at the Harwich Community Center.  Thirty-two students interviewed 564 voters as they left the polls between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The students asked a series of questions including who they voted for for president, senate, representative and county commissioner and how they weighed in on Ballot Questions 1-4.

Election results overall:

  • President: Obama the winner with 60% over Romney's 38%
  • Senate: Warren the winner with 56% over Brown's 44%
  • US Representative: Keating the winner with 67% over Sheldon's 28% and Botelho's 4%
  • County Commissioner: Lyons and Flynn the winners with 65% and 47% respectively over Steinhilber's 31%

Ballot question results:

  • Question 1: 88% yes
  • Question 2: 51% yes
  • Question 3: 59% yes
  • Question 4: 79% yes

Voters were asked what 1-3 issues influenced their choice for president, 64% said jobs/economy, 40% said healthcare/education, 27% said social security/medicare, 26% said values issues, 25% said candidates' character, 25% said the deficit/debt, 24% said tax policy, 17% said foreign policy and 15% said environmental issues.

Those who cited fiscal and economic issues favored Romney, while those who cited domestic issues including character, healthcare/education, social security/medicare and value issues (including gay marriage and abortion rights), voted for Obama.

According to Dickson, "It would appear from this, that at least in Massachusetts (or at least in Harwich), Romney was unable to convince voters to focus enough on economic issues, and that the other issues remained important enough and favored Obama enough to lead to his convincing victory."

Regarding media, only 8% of voters said they were influenced by ads, and only 2% were influenced by direct contact. Numbers supported the belief that debates helped Romney, while ads helped Obama.

When asked when they decided who they would vote for in the Presidential race, 86% indicated they had made their decision more than a month ago. More voters said they made their Senate choice closer to the election. 

According to Dickson, the HHS poll may be "skewed" towards Democrats as 41% of interviewees identified themselves as Democrats and only 21% identified themselves as Republicans. Among the 37% who identified themselves as Independent  (unenrolled), Brown did better than Warren and Obama beat Romney.

Voters were broken down by age (young: 18-39, middle-aged: 40-59, older: 60+) and in the Presidential race, all favored Obama.  In the Senate race, Brown won among young voters, while Warren won with middle-aged and older voters.

Regarding gender, there was a significant gender gap with women favoring Democrats more than men.  "For the presidential race, there was a 12% gap, and for the Senate race there was a 14% gap.  This latter result is somewhat surprising since Brown emphasized his pro-life and other women’s issue positions, especially late in the campaign.  We seem to have also produced a Democratic skew in our poll results since 61% of our respondents were women.  Brown had a lead among the men in our poll, 52% to 47%, so this race again may be closer than our overall result," said Dickson.

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