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Obama wins Vermont, McCain Kentucky

Candidates split first two states

WASHINGTON (AP) — John McCain carried Kentucky, and Barack Obama countered with a victory in Vermont on Tuesday night as he bid to become the first black president. Democrats gained a Senate seat, the first of several they had in their sights in a country at war and anything but prosperous.

The economy was by far the top Election Day issue, according to an Associated Press survey of voters leaving their polling places. Six in 10 said so, and none of the other top issues – energy, Iraq, terrorism and health care – was picked by more than one in 10.

The Associated Press made its calls based on surveys of voters as they left the polls.

Interviews with voters indicated almost six in 10 women were backing Obama, and men leaned his way by a narrow margin. Just over half of whites supported McCain, giving him a slim advantage in a group that President Bush carried overwhelmingly in 2004.

The economy was by far the top Election Day issue, according to the AP exit polling. Six in 10 voters said so, and none of the other top issues – energy, Iraq, terrorism and health care – was picked by more than one in 10.

The results were based on a preliminary partial sample of nearly 10,000 voters in Election Day polls and in telephone interviews over the past week for early voters.

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