This is an archived article that was published on in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

WASHINGTON - Utah Democrats were split evenly between their presidential candidates, giving independents the chance to hand a primary victory to Sen. Barack Obama.

Exit polls conducted for major news outlets show that independents had a major influence in Utah's primary. In the end, Obama claimed 57 percent of the vote, while Sen. Hillary Clinton received 39 percent. The detailed results also included some shockers, such as women favoring Obama over Clinton.

The victory gave Obama 14 and Clinton nine of the available 23 delegates.

"He has a message that transcends party labels," said Kelly Patterson, a political scientist from Brigham Young University, who works extensively with exit polls. "The independents like him and moderate Republicans probably wouldn't mind voting for him if given the opportunity."

Only registered Republicans could cast a ballot in Utah's Republican primary, which Mitt Romney won with 90 percent of the vote. But the Democrats allowed unaffiliated voters to participate.

If the election had been confined to those who identify themselves as Democrats, Obama would have claimed a narrow 2 percentage point victory, according to the poll conducted after people left the voting booth.

But independents, who made up one-third of the voters, overwhelmingly backed the Illinois senator, 68 percent to 26 percent.

State Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Holland said he witnessed "a growing enthusiasm" for Obama, particularly among young voters. He also said the candidate spent more time and money in Utah.

"The way he worked paid dividends here," Patterson said.

The exit poll dissected voters views on a range of issues. Obama won most categories, but in many ways, Utah voters followed national trends.

Obama did very well with younger voters and his level of support slowly slipped with older voters. The 60 and older set was the only age group he didn't win in Utah.

He also received the backing of those with higher incomes and education levels. He did well with urban voters.

Clinton's representative in Utah, Donald Dunn said: "Where Hillary is certainly strong is with working-class Utahns, same as elsewhere."

The gap closed among those who made less than $50,000 per year or those who said the economy was their No. 1 issue. Obama narrowly won both of those cohorts, according to the poll.

In some categories, Utahns bucked the trends.

Women made up 57 percent of Democratic primary voters. Half of those ballots went to Obama and 48 percent went to the New York senator. In many other states, Clinton took a big majority of the women voters. Nationally, women are favoring Clinton 53 percent to 42 percent, according to a recent ABC News poll.

She also barely won voters who professed liking her husband. Three-fourths of the people polled said they held a favorable opinion of former President Clinton, but only half of those people backed his wife. Of the one-fourth who didn't like Bill Clinton, only 10 percent voted for Hillary Clinton.

Clinton won over Utah's Catholic voters, but lost big among Mormons and those who said they belonged to no faith. Obama took nearly 60 percent of Mormon and non-religious voters, the two largest religious categories.

Results of Tuesday's exit polls of Utahns



* Clinton: 28 percent

* Obama: 65 percent


* Clinton: 48 percent

* Obama: 50 percent


No college degree

* Clinton: 44 percent

* Obama: 49 percent

College graduate

* Clinton: 35 percent

* Obama: 64 percent



* Clinton: 25 percent

* Obama: 70 percent


* Clinton: 34 percent

* Obama: 61 percent


* Clinton: 42 percent

* Obama: 56 percent

60 and older

* Clinton: 53 percent

* Obama: 42 percent


Less than $100,000

* Clinton: 40 percent

* Obama: 54 percent

$100,000 or more

* Clinton: 36 percent

* Obama: 64 percent

Party ID


* Clinton: 47 percent

* Obama: 49 percent


* Clinton: 26 percent

* Obama: 68 percent



* Clinton: 58 percent

* Obama: 42 percent


* Clinton: 33 percent

* Obama: 61 percent

No religion

* Clinton: 32 percent

* Obama: 61 percent