Fifty-nine percent of Alabama GOP primary voters and 56 percent of Mississippi voters polled said the economy was the most important issue of the 2012 campaign, according to CNN exit polls from Tuesday. At least another 25 percent of voters polled were most concerned about the federal budget deficit in both states. The polls echo the concerns of voters during last week’s Super Tuesday contests. In Alabama, 80 percent of those polled said they were “very worried” about the economy.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was largely shut out in Tuesday’s southern contests, continues to top the other candidates with economy-minded voters, according to a Bloomberg National Poll, which shows Romney with 37 percent of those polled to Santorum’s 27 percent. However, Romney’s edge with “economy voters” might be slipping according to compiled polling data (WashPost) looking over all the contests starting in January.
Rick Santorum, who won both Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday, used his election night speech (MSNBC) to talk about energy and continue his message of reducing regulations that get in the way of oil and gas production. Though Newt Gingrich did not take a state, he said he counted the week as a win because he was able to push gas prices — a major plank in his platform — into the spotlight nationwide. “We haven’t always gotten our message across in terms of getting as many votes as we’d like but we were clearly changing the national dialogue all week,” he said Tuesday night.
President Barack Obama promised a thorough investigation of the weekend killings in Afghanistan and continued to stay the course on his withdrawal timeline. “We have a strategy that will allow us to responsibly wind down this war,” he said Tuesday in an address from the Rose Garden. “We’re steadily transitioning to the Afghans who are moving into the lead, and that’s going to allow us to bring our troops home. Already we’re scheduled to remove 23,000 troops by the end of this summer, followed by — following the 10,000 that we withdrew last year.”
Obama also discussed the most recent complaint against China (Bloomberg) filed with the World Trade Organization. Along with Japan and European allies, the trade case would halt Beijing’s export limits on rare earth materials, which the president says is hurting U.S. manufacturing jobs and disrupting global markets.
– Contributing Editor Gayle S. Putrich and Senior Editor Toni Johnson