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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 02:03 PM ET, 06/16/2010

Will Obama group get Southern hospitality from Gulf voters?

As they seek to drive turnout in the 2010 midterm elections, Organizing for America volunteers in the Gulf states may have a harder time finding new voters who supported President Obama in 2008 than those elsewhere in the country.

The voter outreach group that grew out of the president's vast grass-roots network during the 2008 campaign is among those working to entice more voters to cast their ballots in the off-year election in November.

Network exit polls from the 2008 presidential contest suggest that new voters around the Gulf were less likely than those in the rest of the country to vote for Obama. The polls showed that of the 28 states around the country where exit pollsters reported the views of new voters, only in Louisiana did Obama lose to Republican nominee John McCain (51 percent of first-time voters in the Pelican State backed McCain, 47 percent Obama). In Florida, Obama held a 59 to 40 percent advantage among new voters, small compared with national figures (nationally among new voters, Obama won 69 to 30 percent).

Those results were not gathered in Alabama or Mississippi. Still, there are hints in the exit poll that new voters in Alabama were not a lock for Obama. Among Alabamans under age 30, the result was a near even split (50 percent Obama to 49 percent McCain), while Obama carried such voters nationally by a 2 to 1 margin. In Mississippi, voters under age 30 broke 56 percent for Obama to 43 percent for McCain, still narrower than the national margin.

Outside of the gulf region, Obama carried new voters soundly, with his biggest win (84 to 16 percent) among first-timers in New York and his narrowest margin coming in Tennessee (56 to 44 percent). Have a look through state-by-state results here.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  02:03 PM ET, 06/16/2010

Categories:  Exit polls

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