Exit Polls Say Economy Top Issue

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More than half of Mississippi voters say the economy was the top issue on their minds as they voted in the presidential race Tuesday, according to a preliminary exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and other news organizations.

Here's a look at preliminary results from exit polling in Mississippi:

The economy was the most important issue, by a wide margin, while the deficit and health care were more distant concerns. A small share of voters listed foreign policy as the most important issue.

A sizable share of voters said they think their financial situation is worse now than it was four years ago. Smaller shares said their financial situation is about the same or better.

More than half of voters said they attend religious services once a week.

A large majority said they made up their minds in the presidential race before September.

The preliminary exit poll of 549 Mississippi voters was conducted for the AP and the television networks by Edison Research in a random sample of 15 precincts statewide. Results were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.

The economy was the top issue motivating Alabamians to vote Tuesday, according to exit polls there.

More than 6 of 10 voters identified the economy as the top issue. The federal budget deficit and health care were about tied for a distant second. About 7 out of 10 voters said their family's situation is about the same or worse than it was four years ago. About 3 out of 10 said it is better.

About half of the voters identified themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians and more than half said they attend religious services at least once a week. About 1 of 10 said they never attend religious services.

Alabama voters indicated they had made up their minds long before the candidates bombarded them with TV ads. About 8 of 10 said they did so before September.

About 6 of 10 voters said government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals, while about 4 of 10 said government should do more to solve problems.