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Exit Polls: Limbaugh Effect Seems To Rear Its Head

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Did Rush Limbaugh actually impact the Democratic primary?

The loud-mouthed radio talk show host has been encouraging Republicans to vote for Sen. Hillary Clinton to continue the "chaos" in the Democratic race. And a sampling of some key exit poll information suggests he may, to a certain extent, be having an effect.

Thirty-six percent of primary voters said that Clinton does not share their values. And yet, among that total, one out of every five (20 percent) nevertheless voted for her in the Indiana election. Moreover, of the 10 percent of Hoosiers who said "neither candidate" shared their values, 75 percent cast their ballots for Clinton.

These are not small numbers. By comparison, of the 33 percent of voters who said Sen. Barack Obama does not share their values, only seven percent cast their ballots in his favor. Basically, more people who don't relate to Clinton are, for one reason or another, still voting for her. These are not likely to be loyal supporters.

On a broader level, among the 17 percent of primary goers who said they would choose Sen. John McCain over Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical general election match-up, 41 percent of that group came from Clinton's own camp. In essence, roughly seven percent of Clinton support in Indiana (40 percent of 17 percent) said they would defect to the Republican should she end up the nominee. That would be a difficult punch to stomach in November. In 2004, nearly 1 million Indianans voted for John Kerry. A seven percent defection rate would have meant 70,000 less votes.

By contrast, if the general election is between Obama and McCain, 19 percent of the Indiana Democratic primary goers said they would support the Republican. But only 12 percent of that group (2.28 percent) would come from Obama's camp.

The numbers suggest one of three things: A) Clinton's support in Indiana, while clearly there, is not entirely solid; B) a large swath of Indiana primary goers simply didn't like the nominees and thought of Clinton as the lesser of two evils; or C) Limbaugh's hatchet plan could be having political ripples.

Perhaps it's a mix of all three.

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