Exit polls from Super Tuesday show the economy is the biggest issue on voters’ minds with the election a little more than seven months away. In general election battleground states such as Virginia and Ohio, where GOP candidate Mitt Romney won last night, about half of voters polled by CNN said the economy it was their biggest concern.
The New York Times’ polling found similar results in four states (Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, and Massachusetts). In Ohio, where unemployment is below the national rate of 8.3 percent, the Times poll found that more than half of voters considered the economy the most important issue and about three-quarters said they were very worried about the direction of the nation’s economy. Among voters in Georgia, nearly six in ten selected the economy as the top issue.
Overall, Romney won six states. In a speech last night, Romney said jobs would be his highest priority (WashPost) and his economic plan would “deliver more jobs, less debt, and smaller government.” A new paper from the Brookings Institution looking at what the president should do about the economy after the election in 2013 says, if the economy remains weak, more stimulus for jobs and the housing market will be needed.
In a press conference Tuesday, President Obama ran the gauntlet of foreign policy questions, mostly centered on the Middle East and continued conflict in the region. Obama called attacks against rebels and civilians by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his loyalists “heartbreaking and outrageous,” but said the United States would not take on Syria militarily. On the possibility of war with Iran over its nuclear program, he said: “It is my belief that we have a window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically. That’s not just my view. That’s the view of our top intelligence officials; it’s the view of top Israeli intelligence officials.” He also said the United States is continuing to work toward the 2014 goal of ending its combat role in Afghanistan.
Touching on the Iran issue in a speech last night after winning Georgia, Newt Gingrich said his goal “is to have energy independence so we are free of the Middle East.” Romney, Gingrich, and Rick Santorum also each took a turn at the podium (Politico) at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference Super Tuesday where they all discussed their concerns about the Iran situation.
– Contributing Editor Gayle S. Putrich and Senior Editor Toni Johnson