Economy Casts Shadow Over Super Tuesday

Sen. Barack Obama is narrowly winning among white men, with 49 percent support to Sen. Hillary Clinton's 44 percent, combined exit poll data from all of today's primaries show.

Obama won the votes of white men in six states, and tied Clinton among white men in two others; the most notable is his huge 59-33 percent advantage among white men in California.

Clinton, by contrast, won the votes of white women nationally by a 20-point margin, 58 to 38 percent.

Obama's won 82 percent of African-American voters, while Hispanics nationally are going 61-37 percent for Clinton. Unlike whites, Clinton is winning Hispanic men and women alike.

And dark economic clouds cast a shadow over today's primaries with voters in both parties and across the country weighed down more by financial concerns than by any other issues.

As it was in states that have already voted over the last month, the economy has been by far the most important issue to voters today. The preliminary results of our national exit poll indicate the economy is the top issue for Democrats and Republican voters alike.

Democrats — top issue:economy 47 percent; ear in Iraq 30; health care 19.

Republicans — top issue: economy 38 percent; immigration 24; war in Iraq 20; terrorism 15.

In the Connecticut GOP race, which ABC News projects John McCain to win, the top two issues for Republican voters were the economy, followed distantly by the Iraq war. McCain ran equally well on these issues, while Mitt Romney won voters who cited illegal immigration as the most important issue in their vote.

Just six months ago, the war on Iraq was the biggest worry. Since then, the economy has taken a turn for the worse at the same time violence in Iraq has abated.

Back in September, only 11 percent of Americans considered the economy to be the top issue and 35 percent were most concerned about Iraq. Those numbers have flipped in our latest ABC News/Washington Post telephone poll with 39 percent now pegging the economy as the most important issue and only 11 percent citing Iraq.

Dems Choose Change

Change continues to be a powerful draw for Democrats, who rank the ability to bring about change their top attribute for a candidate by 2 to -1 over other concerns.

Democrats — most important attribute: bring needed change 52 percent; best experience 23; empathy 13; best chance to win 9.

In a close Missouri Democratic race, change is the primary attribute voters are looking for in a candidate, as has been the case in earlier states, with just over half saying so, and Obama beat Clinton 2-1 among them.

Change has long been Obama's strong suit. But about two in 10 say they're looking mainly for experience, and Clinton dominates here as in earlier states, taking just over nine in 10 of these voters, her strongest showing among "experience" voters so far this season.

GOP Voters Look for 'Shared Values'

Republicans by a wide margin cite "shared values" as the most important attribute in a candidate

Republicans — most important attribute: shares my values 44 percent; best experience 25; says what he believes 22; best chance to win 7.

Republican Makeup

The bulk of Republican voters today consider themselves conservatives — they account for 65 percent of the GOP electorate.

Just over three-quarters (77 percent) of GOP voters today are party regulars as opposed to Independents.

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