Huge voter turnout in Ariz. for historic election, economy top issue

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UPDATE: Wednesday morning

PHOENIX -- John McCain defeated Barack Obama in the Republican's home state on Tuesday -- a small victory in an otherwise disappointing night for McCain.

The race was a bit tighter than McCain's previous contests in Arizona, reflecting changes in the state's population. McCain had never lost an election here and won his last two re-election races with more than two-thirds of the vote.

Things heated up in the final weeks of the campaign, when Obama gained momentum around the nation and crept closer to McCain in polls in Arizona.

Exit poll finds economy is most important issue for Arizona voters

Arizona voters consider the economy the most important issue facing the country, but it didn't appear to be decisive in the state's presidential race won by John McCain.

The Arizona Republican and Democrat Barack Obama split the voters identifying that concern as most important to the country.

That's according to preliminary exit polls for The Associated Press and television networks.

Asked to pick their most important issue among five choices, six in 10 picked the economy.

Of those, half went for McCain and half for Obama.

On a separate question, four of every five voters surveyed said they were worried about the economy's direction in the next year, with a full half of the voters saying they were "very worried."


PHOENIX -- Arizonans who haven't voted already go to the polls Tuesday, casting ballots for the presidency and numerous other offices and statewide ballot questions.

Record voter turnout

Republican presidential nominee and Arizona Sen. John McCain is expected to cast his vote sometime in the morning near his central Phoenix condo and within minutes from the Arizona Biltmore, where he will speak after election results are in.

Long lines were present at some polling places in Phoenix when the polls opened at 6 a.m. The polls are open until 7 p.m. but anybody already in line at 7 p.m. is allowed to vote.

Voters can turn in early ballots at any polling place in their county. It's too late to put them in the mail.

Arizona law requires voters casting ballots at polling places to show identification.

Secretary of State Jan Brewer says 80 percent of Arizona's registered voters are expected to participate in the election.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)