Economy top issue on voters' mind in US poll

Washington, Nov 7 (IANS) Economy was the top issue on voters' minds as they went to the polls to decide whether to give President Barack Obama a second term or replace him with Republican challenger Mitt Romney, according to exit polls.

Sixty percent called it the most important issue in a CNN exit poll released as the first results started trickling in Tuesday night from the US presidential election.

Health care is a distant second at 17 percent. It's followed by the deficit at 17 percent and foreign policy at four percent.

While 24 percent of the voters in CNN exit poll said their family's financial situation is better today than it was four years ago, 34 percent rated it worse today with 41 percent saying their financial situation is the same.

As for what the voters were looking for in a candidate, the poll suggested 29 percent want someone who has a vision for the future and a nearly identical number, 28 percent, wanted someone who shares their values.

Twenty percent said the top quality they were looking for is whether a candidate cares about people like them, while 19 percent wanted a strong leader.

Early exit poll results from the battleground state of Florida showed 49 percent believed Obama would better handle Medicare while 47 percent suggested Romney.

More voters in the swing states of Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia blamed former president George Bush than Obama for the state of the US economy, CNN exit polls show.

In Florida, 53 percent of voters said Bush is more to blame for the country's current economic problems while 41 percent said Obama. In New Hampshire, exit polls show 54 percent blamed Bush, while 41 percent blamed Obama.

There's less of a gap in Ohio and Virginia, CNN said. In both states, 50 percent of voters said Bush is more to blame for the country's current economic problems. In Ohio, 41 percent said Obama is more to blame and in Virginia 45 percent said Obama.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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