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Nearly half of Va. voters strongly back candidate

Tuesday - 3/6/2012, 5:27pm  ET

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. - Voters in the Virginia Republican presidential primary could choose between just two of the four GOP candidates. Still, nearly half were strongly behind their chosen candidate, about on par with the level in several other Super Tuesday states.

Mitt Romney and Ron Paul were the only candidates to meet Virginia's ballot requirements.

Preliminary results of an exit poll in Virginia found a narrow majority of voters called the economy their top issue in choosing a candidate; about a third cited the federal budget deficit.

About half prioritized choosing a candidate who could defeat President Barack Obama in November, while around one in five cited strong moral character.

Preliminary results from the Virginia exit poll include 647 voters. The survey's margin of sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

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