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2012 Election Coverage

November 7, 2012

Obama carries Iowa, where economy was top issue

DES MOINES — President Barack Obama carried Iowa on Tuesday as voters said the economy isn't good, isn't necessarily getting better, but isn't Obama's fault, according to preliminary results from exit polling for The Associated Press.

More than half of Iowa voters said the economy is the top issue facing the country. And the U.S. economy is "not so good" or "poor," Iowa voters said, by a two-to-one ratio. And here's one key to Obama's win on Tuesday: A little more than half of voters blamed former President George W. Bush for the current state of the economy, with only about one-third blaming Obama.

"He's trying to get people back to work," said Jay Doehrmann, 46, who lives in Williamsburg in eastern Iowa and stocks shelves at a grocery store. "It's a long process and it can't happen overnight."

The deficit was the top issue for almost one-fifth of voters, the second-biggest group. Their other choices were foreign policy and health care.

Hannah Risinger, a 19-year-old student at Drake University in Des Moines, said economic issues were key to her decision to vote for Republican Mitt Romney. Her older brother graduated three years ago with a degree in chemical engineering, but he's working as a waiter. "That's upsetting to me," she said.

Iowa was watched closely. With only six electoral votes, it's no Ohio or Pennsylvania on the electoral college map. But Romney's strategy hinged on preventing Obama from sweeping Iowa along with Ohio and Wisconsin. That didn't happen — Obama swept all three.

Both candidates and their running mates spent a lot of time in Iowa. At one point over the summer, Obama was in Iowa for three days in a row. Romney and Obama held competing rallies in Dubuque on Saturday, and Romney was in Des Moines on Sunday.

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