The economy is weighing heavily on voters' minds from north to south, even as Super Tuesday is showcasing vastly different slices of the Republican electorate, according to early exit polls conducted for The Associated Press in seven states. From more moderate Massachusetts and Vermont to more conservative states such as Oklahoma and Tennessee, the economy was the top issue.
The economy is the number one issue for voters in every Super Tuesday state polled, according to early results from exit polls. In Vermont and Massachusetts, voters overwhelmingly cited the economy as their top issue with almost 6 in 10 voters in Massachusetts and most voters in Vermont citing it as a top issue. That was also true in Southern and more conservative states, though more there expressed concern about the deficit. In Tennessee, Oklahoma and Virginia, more than 3 in 10 called the federal budget deficit their top issue. In Tennessee, a large number of voters had misgivings about the federal government. Four in 10 voters in the state said they were angry with the way the federal government is working, according to early exit polls.
Tuesday's votes showcased different parts of the GOP base. In the Northeast, more moderate Republicans headed to the polls. Vermont's electorate is the only state where exit or entrance polls have been conducted thus far in the nominating contest in which a majority of Republican voters were moderate or liberal. In contrast, Oklahoma voters are among the most conservative to vote yet. Nearly half of that state's voters identified themselves as "very" conservative -- outpacing that group's share of the vote in Oklahoma in both 2008 and 2000.