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Ohio Exit-Poll Surprise: Romney Draws Low-Income, No College Voters

There's something funny happening in Ohio according to CNN's exit poll — Mitt Romney is appealing to some of the very income and education groups in Ohio that were supposed to be Rick Santorum's strength, voters with relatively low incomes and no college.

That could be bad news for Santorum since Romney also attracts the highest income, college educated voters as well that populate Ohio's big city suburbs and exurbs.

According to the exit poll, Romney came close to Santorum among voters who never attended college, with Romney getting 34 percent to Santorum's 37 percent. Those voters comprised 24 percent of the exit poll sample.


Also, Romney got 34 percent of those whose incomes are under $30,000 compared with 35 percent for Santorum.

The former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania bested Romney when it came to voters whose incomes were between $30,000 and $100,000. Santorum outperformed Romney by 10 percentage points among voters whose incomes fell between $50,000 and $100,000.

Romney better performance among that lowest income group might be explained by his strength with older voters, many of whom are probably living on fixed incomes.

Romney got 47 percent of voters 65 or over while Santorum got 31 percent of that vote.

If Romney goes on to win the Ohio primary, it may be these older voters who gave him the critical edge.

Democracy Day is an effort that started in 2022 to draw attention to the crisis facing American democracy, provide the public with the context and information they need, and bring all types of media together to sound the alarm collectively. KPBS is a media partner in this collaborative.