Poll: Economy, health care top issues in 3 battleground states

(CBS News) A majority of voters in the crucial battleground states of Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio say the economy and health care are "extremely important" issues with regard to how they will cast their votes this fall, according to a new Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll.

The survey, conducted from August 15-21, suggests that voters in all three states consider the economy the most important issue in this election: 60 percent of likely voters characterized that issue as "extremely important" in Florida, while 59 percent in Ohio and 54 percent in Wisconsin said the same.

Health care had the second-highest proportion of voters who ranked the issue "extremely important": 56 percent of Florida voters characterized the issue that way, as did 52 percent of Ohio voters and 50 percent of Wisconsin voters.

CBS News
Many voters also characterized Medicare and the budget deficit as "extremely important," while fewer said the same of taxes, foreign policy, and the housing market and foreclosures.

On these four issues, voters had more confidence in Mr. Obama than Romney on health care and Medicare, but they thought Romney would do a better job fixing the budget deficit.

Voters were more divided as to whether Mr. Obama or Romney is more equipped to handle the economy: Romney had an edge in Florida and Wisconsin, while the two are tied among Ohio voters.

In Florida, voters generally disapprove of the 2010 health care law enacted under the Obama administration, while voters in Ohio and Wisconsin are divided. But even in Ohio and Wisconsin, those who disapprove tend to feel more strongly on the subject: Four in 10 strongly disapprove. Obama voters overwhelmingly approve of the law in all three states, while Romney voters disapprove.

In the three states, meanwhile, just over one in five voters think the law will help them personally. More than one third of those voters think it will hurt them.

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    Sarah Dutton is the CBS News director of surveys.

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