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Older Voters Help Clinton, Trump Win Northeastern Primaries

Front-runners move closer to presidential nominations

Pennsylvania Primary Poll Workers

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Poll workers sit next to electronic voting machines at the Francis Myers Recreation Center polling location in Philadelphia.

Overwhelming support from older voters boosted Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump in Northeastern primaries on April 26, helping the front-runners move toward wrapping up their parties’ presidential nominations. The generation gap widened in Democratic contests, while Trump fared well among all age groups on the GOP side.

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Former Secretary of State Clinton continued to dominate among voters 45 and older, while Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont entrenched his support among those younger than 30, according to the latest round of news media exit polls. Among those 45 to 64 in the three states where voter surveys were conducted, Clinton received 58 percent in Connecticut, 77 percent in Maryland and 65 percent in Pennsylvania. She got more than 67 percent of the vote from those 65 and older in each of the three states.

Older voters comprised between 59 and 64 percent of the vote in those three states. Clinton led the overall unofficial results with 52 percent in Connecticut, 63 percent in Maryland and 56 percent in Pennsylvania. No exit polls were conducted in two neighboring states that also held primaries on April 26. Clinton won Delaware with 60 percent of the unofficial results; Sanders scored his only victory in Rhode Island, with 55 percent.

By contrast, Trump’s resounding victories in all five states were accompanied by a mostly consistent performance among the four age groups.

In Pennsylvania, the exit poll indicated he got 59 percent from voters 65 and older, 57 percent from those 45 to 64, 58 percent from those 30 to 44, and 52 percent from those 18 to 29. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas had a narrow lead for second place from among the two middle age groups, while Gov. John Kasich of Ohio narrowly took second place among the oldest and youngest voters.

The results for Trump were virtually the same in Connecticut. Likewise in Maryland, Trump had between 59 and 64 percent of the vote from the three oldest groups. He received 33 percent of the vote from those younger than 30, virtually tied with Cruz and Kasich.

Overall, Trump won the five states with a vote ranging between 54 percent in Maryland and 64 percent in Rhode Island. Kasich ran second in each state except for Pennsylvania, where Cruz took 22 percent of the total GOP vote.

Next: Both parties will hold primaries in Indiana on May 3.

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