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Early exit polls: Economy looms large

From Msnbc.com's Tom Curry
In early exit poll data, 62 percent of voters said the economy is the most important issue facing the country, with 56 percent said the country is on the wrong track.

With 14.8 million unemployed – 4.5 million more than on Election Day 2008 – it's not surprising that the economy is the dominant issue in the election.

Nearly nine in ten voters said the state of the economy was not good. And nearly 90 percent of voters were also pessimistic about the nation’s economic future.

The data also suggested that the 2010 electorate is turning out to be more conservative than in previous elections.

A relatively high 41 percent of voters identified themselves as conservatives, with only 20 percent calling themselves liberals and 39 percent identifying as moderates.

In the 2006 midterm elections in which the Democrats took control of Congress, only 32 percent of the electorate identified itself as conservative. In the 2008 election, only 34 percent called themselves conservative.

And after a stimulus program and bailouts of banks, most voters seemed to want a less activist government: 56 percent of voters said they wanted government to do less, while only 39 percent said government should do more to solve the nation's problems.