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Calif. Exit Poll: Economy, Health Care Big Issues For Voters

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SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — Voters’ views of Tuesday’s elections, according to a preliminary exit poll conducted in California for the Associated Press, CBS and the other television networks:

IT’S THE ECONOMY: More than half of California voters said the economy was the most important issue facing the county. About 1 in 5 said health care was the most important, and fewer still chose the federal budget deficit. Foreign policy was the top issue for fewer than one in 30 voters.

Slightly more than half said they thought the country’s economy system favored the wealthy, while 4 in 10 said they thought it was generally fair.

MONEY TROUBLES: Voters indicated that they felt insecure both about their own finances and the national economy, though many seemed hopeful for a turnaround.

About half called the national economic condition “not so good.” A plurality of voters thought the U.S. economy was staying about the same, but nearly twice as many thought it was getting better than thought it was getting worse.

When asked about their own financial situation, about 4 in 10 voters said it was about the same as four years ago. About a third said their circumstances had gotten worse, while slightly less than that said their situation had improved.

EARLY DECISIONS: A majority of voters say they made up their minds about whom to vote for in the presidential election well before the final weeks of the campaign.

About a sixth of voters said they made up their minds in October, and the same portion said they decided in September.

Two thirds of voters said they had already decided before the fall.

BIG GOVERNMENT FAVORED: California voters weighed in on several initiatives Tuesday that could lead to increased government involvement and spending, including a bid to label genetically-modified foods and an initiative that would raise taxes to close the budget gap and fund schools.

More than half of voters said that, in general, government should do more to solve problems. About 4 in 10 agreed with the statement that government is already doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.

The survey of 3,018 California voters was conducted for AP and the television networks by Edison Research. This includes preliminary results from interviews conducted as voters left a random sample of 30 precincts statewide Tuesday, as well as 933 who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.

Online: http://surveys.ap.org/exitpolls

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