NEW YORK (AP) _ Taxes, jobs and the federal budget deficit were foremost on the minds of voters in New York's Republican presidential primary Thursday.

One in four voters surveyed in an exit poll said the economy and jobs were, combined, the most important issue in choosing a candidate. A similar number said taxes were the No. 1 issue. One in seven said their top concern was the deficit.

Asked to name the candidate quality that mattered most, Sen. Bob Dole's supporters most often cited his experience in Washington, followed by his ability to beat President Clinton.

``Dole doesn't have much of a program but he has experience,'' said Karl Steinbrenner, 63, an advertising copy writer who voted for Dole in Brooklyn.

The qualities most frequently picked by Steve Forbes' backers were that he is not a career politician and that he has ``vision for the future.''

Those who voted for Pat Buchanan were most impressed by how ``he stands up for what he believes in.''

Forbes, the flat-tax advocate, picked up much of his support from people who said taxes were the top issue. Typical was Stanley White, 44, of Manhattan, who said: ``I like the idea of Forbes economically, the flat tax.''

About one in four Buchanan voters cited abortion as the issue that most influenced their vote.

``I won't vote for a candidate who is not pro-life,'' said Joan Clemente, 49, of Buffalo. She said she felt Buchanan was her only choice.

Dole's campaign in New York was organized by Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, and not surprisingly, positive feelings towards D'Amato were stronger among Dole voters than among Forbes and Buchanan voters.

While unfavorable D'Amato sentiments were expressed by six in 10 Forbes voters and nearly half of Buchanan voters, nearly two-thirds of Dole supporters viewed D'Amato favorably.

Steve Gaglio, 26, a sales representative from the Rochester suburb Irondequoit, said he voted for Dole and added: ``I like D'Amato too. I think he's doing a great job with the Whitewater investigation. I think it's going to be a matter of time before he nails Billary or Hillary or whatever her name is.''

The exit poll was conducted by Voter News Service, a consortium of The Associated Press, ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC. Preliminary results were based on a sample of a 767 voters at 50 precincts around New York. The margin of error for the overall sample was plus or minus 5 percentage points, larger for subgroups.