Most Pennsylvania voters are dissatisfied with the federal government and remain worried about the direction of the nation's economy in the next year, according to an analysis of preliminary results from an Associated Press exit poll.
The poll conducted during Tuesday's midterm election surveyed voters' attitudes as they cast ballots in races for governor and one of the most competitive Senate contests in the nation.
In the Senate race, nearly three in 10 voters made up their minds between Democrat Joe Sestak and Republican Pat Toomey only within the last week, as nonstop TV ads blanketed the state.
People who favored their leaders making compromises supported Sestak, while those who want a leader to stick to their principles no matter what supported Toomey.
Sestak drew more support from voters looking for a candidate who understands their needs, and Toomey received more backing from those looking for someone to bring needed change.
Overall, voters said the economy is the most important issue facing the country, with health care a distant second.
State voters were about evenly split on whether the new health care law should be repealed. Sestak voted for the legislation as a congressman from suburban Philadelphia; Toomey favors repealing and replacing it.
The poll showed it would have been a close rematch if Toomey had faced current Sen. Arlen Specter; Specter narrowly beat Toomey in a Republican primary in 2004. This year, after Specter became a Democrat, he lost the primary to Sestak.
Nearly all Sestak voters would have supported Specter; fewer than one in 10 said they wouldn't have voted in a Specter-Toomey race.
Emil Bucceroni, 85, of Philadelphia, said he was "very disappointed" Specter was not in the race.
"Arlen Specter was Mr. Pennsylvania," Bucceroni said. "He was never a Republican or a Democrat. He always did what was right for Pennsylvania. He wanted to serve the people of Pennsylvania."
About four in 10 voters supported the tea party movement, though Pennsylvania had no marquee tea party candidates. About half disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is handling his job.
Keith Murray, 47, of Philadelphia, said people should be more patient with the president. Obama has been dealing with two wars, a recession and a terrible housing market, Murray said.
"Things were a mess when he became president," Murray said. "At least give the guy a chance."
In the governor's race, Democrat Dan Onorato outpolled Republican Tom Corbett among voters under 30, but Corbett did well among those who consider themselves independents.
The preliminary exit poll of 2,700 Pennsylvania voters was conducted for AP by Edison Research in a random sample of 45 precincts statewide. The sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.