The polls in Illinois do not close until 7 p.m. Central time (8 p.m. Eastern), but news organizations that subscribe to the Illinois exit poll produced by Edison Research are sharing some initial results from interviews with primary voters conducted earlier today. They intentionally avoid reporting specific estimates of which candidate is ahead or behind, but can begin to provide some sense of who is voting and why.

Here are some early highlights:

  • The ​Washington Post reports that 42 percent of the Illinois primary voters self-identify as evangelical Christians, "just one point higher than the percentage of evangelicals who voted there in 2008," but roughly half the number that voted in last week's primaries in Alabama and Mississippi.
  • Similarly, the New York Times tells us that "about 1 in 4 voters" identify as very conservative, a much smaller part of the electorate than in last week's primaries. Like evangelicals, the most conservative voters have been Rick Santorum's strongest supporters for most of the early primaries, to
  • Separately, the ​Washington Post also reports that "nearly four in 10 voters" earn at least $100,000 per year. Upper-income Republicans have consistently been Romney's strongest group across the 2012 primaries.
  • The *Times* also shares results from the question about the issues on the minds of Illinois primary voters. Not surprisingly, "a majority" said "the economy mattered most in their deciding how to vote. About 1 in 4 voters said the budget deficit mattered most, and about 1 in 10 said abortion, according to early exit poll results."

The full exit poll tabulations will be posted at the following links shortly after the polls close by CBS News, CNN and NBC News.

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