WASHINGTON -

Preliminary results of an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press show that the presidential election hinges once again on the economy.

The survey of voters as they leave polling places Tuesday shows 6 in 10 voters say the economy is the top issue facing the nation, with unemployment and rising prices hitting voters hard.

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About 4 in 10 say they think the nation's economy is on the mend, but more say that things are getting worse or are bad and stagnating.

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About half of voters say the previous president, George W. Bush, shoulders more of the blame for economic challenges than President Barack Obama.

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Just a quarter of those surveyed in the exit poll say they are better off than four years ago.

ISSUES

The economy was foremost on the minds of Florida voters. Health care, the deficit and foreign policy lagged far behind.

THE ECONOMY

When it came to the economy, rising prices were the top concern of Florida voters. Not far behind was unemployment. Both were the picks of more than a third of voters in a state with an 8.7 percent unemployment rate.

DECISION TIME

Florida voters made up their minds early. More than two-thirds of voters said they had made up their minds before September.

HEALTH CARE

Half of Florida voters believe that President Barack Obama's health care overhaul should be repealed. Slightly more than half of voters also support an amendment to the state constitution that encourages state leaders to resist the implementation of Obama's health care overhaul.

WHO TO BLAME?

Slightly more than half of Florida voters believe President George W. Bush is to blame for the nation's economic problems.

The survey of voters was conducted for the AP by Edison Research. This includes preliminary results from interviews with 3,124 Election Day voters at 50 polling places statewide; 811 who voted early or absentee were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.