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VoteCast: Pennsylvania voters say nation headed wrong way

November 7, 2018

Voters casting midterm election ballots in Pennsylvania are divided over the state of the nation, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.

As voters cast ballots for governor, U.S. Senate and members of Congress in Tuesday’s elections, AP VoteCast found that 44 percent of Pennsylvania voters said the country is on the right track, compared with 55 percent who said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in Pennsylvania, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 139,000 voters and nonvoters _ including 3,949 voters and 812 nonvoters in the state of Pennsylvania _ conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

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RACE FOR SENATE

In the race for Senate, Republican Lou Barletta was about even with Democrat Bob Casey among white voters. Whites with a college education preferred Casey, and whites without a college degree leaned toward Barletta.

Casey had a sizable advantage among black voters and also led among Hispanic voters.

Voters under 45 preferred Casey; those ages 45 and older modestly supported Casey.

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RACE FOR GOVERNOR

Democrat Tom Wolf had a sizable advantage over Republican Scott Wagner among voters under 45 in the race for governor. Voters ages 45 and older modestly supported Wolf.

Black voters and Hispanic voters supported Wolf. White voters overall were divided over Wolf and Wagner.

Whites without a college degree were split over Wolf and Wagner. By comparison, white college graduates preferred Wolf.

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TOP ISSUE: HEALTH CARE

Health care was at the forefront of voters’ minds: 25 percent named it as the most important issue facing the nation in this year’s midterm elections. Others considered immigration (20 percent), the economy (19 percent), gun policy (9 percent) and the environment (7 percent) to be the top issue.

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STATE OF THE ECONOMY

Voters have a positive view of the nation’s current economic outlook _ 67 percent said the nation’s economy is good, compared with 33 percent who said it’s not good.

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TRUMP FACTOR

For 30 percent of Pennsylvania voters, President Donald Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their votes. By comparison, 29 percent said a reason for their vote was to express support for Trump, and 40 percent said they voted to express opposition to Trump.

Voters in Pennsylvania had mixed views of Trump: 47 percent said they approve of how he is handling his job as president, while 53 percent said they disapprove of Trump.

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CONTROL OF CONGRESS

Tuesday’s elections will determine control of Congress in the final two years of Trump’s first term in office, and 73 percent of Pennsylvania voters said which party will hold control was very important as they considered their vote. Another 19 percent said it was somewhat important.

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STAYING AT HOME

In Pennsylvania, 63 percent of registered voters who chose not to vote in the midterm election were younger than 45. A wide share of those who did not vote _ 77 percent _ did not have a college degree. About as many nonvoters were Democrats (30 percent) as Republicans (33 percent).

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AP VoteCast is a survey of the American electorate in all 50 states conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for The Associated Press and Fox News. The survey of 3,949 voters and 812 nonvoters in Pennsylvania was conducted Oct. 29 to Nov. 6, concluding as polls close on Election Day. It combines interviews in English or Spanish with a random sample of registered voters drawn from state voter files and self-identified registered voters selected from opt-in online panels. Participants in the probability-based portion of the survey were contacted by phone and mail, and had the opportunity to take the survey by phone or online. The margin of sampling error for voters is estimated to be plus or minus 2.0 percentage points. All surveys are subject to multiple sources of error, including from sampling, question wording and order, and nonresponse. Find more details about AP VoteCast’s methodology at http://www.ap.org/votecast.

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AP created this story automatically using data from NORC.

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For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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