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Exit polls reveal deeply divided country

The electorate picking the next president is sharply defined by cleavages of race, gender and educational attainment, according to early, preliminary results Tuesday from the national network exit poll.

Donald Trump has a large advantage among white voters without a college degree, MSNBC reported Tuesday, 65 percent to 29 percent, outpacing Mitt Romney’s lead among these voters in his losing campaign four years ago.

But Trump and Clinton are neck-and-neck among white voters with a college degree — an otherwise reliably Republican cohort over the past 50 years of election polling.

Clinton, meanwhile, is winning a majority of voters under age 30, 51 percent to 34 percent — a smaller percentage than President Barack Obama did in 2012.

The full survey is embargoed until the polls close across most of the country, but the six members of the National Election Pool were permitted to report nuggets from the survey that don’t characterize the outcome beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. The numbers are certain to change, perhaps significantly, throughout the night.

MSNBC also reported a 7-point edge in party identification for Democrats, 38 percent to 31 percent.

Clinton is better liked than Trump, though majorities have unfavorable opinions of each. Clinton’s image rating is 44 percent favorable/54 percent unfavorable — more positive than Trump’s 37 percent favorable/61 percent unfavorable.

Moreover, more voters say Clinton is honest and trustworthy (38 percent) than describe Trump as honest and trustworthy (32 percent).

According to Fox News, only 42 percent of voters said their vote reflects their strong favorability toward one of the candidates. Another 31 percent said they have reservations about the candidate they chose, and a quarter said they made their choice because they disliked the other candidates more.

Three-in-four voters said they decided on their choice prior to October, according to CNN. Another 13 made their choice in October, 7 percent decided in the last few days

Voters have a positive view of Obama’s presidency: 54 percent approve of his job performance, according to CNN, while 45 percent disapprove.

A majority of voters, 52 percent, say the economy was the most important issue in their vote.

The national exit poll is conducted for the National Election Pool — ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, NBC News and The Associated Press — by Edison Research. These preliminary results as of 5 p.m. are based on interviews with 15,455 voters – both in-person at polling places and phone interviews with early voters – and have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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