Early exit polling from Alabama's Republican primary shows the ability to beat Barack Obama in November is a major force driving the force. About four in 10 voters say that's the top quality they sought in a Republican candidate.
Other factors driving the vote include strong moral character, being a true conservative or having the right experience. Those factors taken together were cited by about six in 10 voters.
About six in 10 cited the economy as their top concern, followed by about a quarter naming the federal budget deficit.
One in 10 named abortion the top issue.
The preliminary results from 1,023 Alabama voters were compiled at 30 randomly selected polling places. They have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Some candidates in the Republican primary for the president of Alabama's Public Service Commission worry that their position on the ballot may not grab the attention of voters.
The three Republican candidates appear on the back and toward the bottom of most ballots.
The winner of Tuesday's primary faces sitting president Lucy Baxley this fall. Baxley is the only Democrat to hold a statewide office in Alabama.
A Republican win would complete a 32-year transition from all Democrats in statewide offices to all Republicans.
The candidates are Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, Kathy Peterson and Chip Brown.
The PSC's responsibilities include regulating the electric and natural gas utilities, which the candidates say is crucial to maintaining low rates for consumers.
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