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VoteCast: Florida voters divided on state of nation

November 7, 2018

Voters casting midterm election ballots in Florida 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 47 percent of Florida voters said the country is on the right track, compared with 51 percent who said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in Florida, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 139,000 voters and nonvoters _ including 3,744 voters and 679 nonvoters in the battleground state of Florida _ 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 Rick Scott was preferred over Democrat Bill Nelson among white voters. Whites with a college education leaned toward Scott, and whites without a college degree supported Scott as well.

Nelson had a sizable advantage among black voters and also had an apparent advantage among Hispanic voters.

Voters under 45 favored Nelson; those ages 45 and older appeared to prefer Scott.

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RACE FOR GOVERNOR

Democrat Andrew Gillum led Republican Ron DeSantis among voters under 45 in the race for governor. Voters ages 45 and older appeared to prefer DeSantis.

Black voters and Hispanic voters preferred Gillum. White voters overall preferred DeSantis.

Whites without a college degree were more likely to support DeSantis. Similarly, white college graduates appeared to prefer DeSantis.

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TOP ISSUES

Voters considered several issues to be important to their vote in this midterm election, including immigration (27 percent), health care (24 percent), the economy (17 percent), gun policy (9 percent) and the environment (7 percent).

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STATE OF THE ECONOMY

Voters have a positive view of the nation’s current economic outlook _ 69 percent said the nation’s economy is good, compared with 31 percent who said it’s not good.

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TRUMP FACTOR

For 33 percent of Florida voters, President Donald Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their votes. By comparison, 30 percent said a reason for their vote was to express support for Trump, and 37 percent said they voted to express opposition to Trump.

Voters in Florida had mixed views of Trump: 49 percent said they approve of how he is handling his job as president, while 51 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 74 percent of Florida 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 Florida, 65 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 _ 82 percent _ did not have a college degree. About as many nonvoters were Democrats (32 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 3,744 voters and 679 nonvoters in Florida 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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