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VoteCast: Mississippi voters divided on state of nation

November 7, 2018

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

As voters cast ballots for U.S. Senate and members of Congress in Tuesday’s elections, AP VoteCast found that 52 percent of Mississippi voters said the country is on the right track, compared with 46 percent who said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in Mississippi, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 138,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,031 voters and 833 nonvoters in the state of Mississippi — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

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TWO SENATE SEATS

In the special election for the Senate seat vacated by Thad Cochran, Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith led fellow Republican Chris McDaniel and Democrat Mike Espy among white voters. Whites with a college education were more likely to support Hyde-Smith, and whites without a college degree favored Hyde-Smith as well.

Espy led among black voters.

Voters under 45 supported Espy; those ages 45 and older modestly supported Hyde-Smith.

Meanwhile, in Mississippi’s other Senate race, Republican Roger Wicker was preferred over Democrat David Baria among white voters. Whites with a college education supported Wicker, and whites without a college degree favored Wicker as well.

Baria was preferred among black voters.

Voters under 45 were divided in their support; those ages 45 and older preferred Wicker.

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TOP ISSUES

Voters considered several issues to be important to their vote in this midterm election, including immigration (27 percent), the economy (25 percent), health care (22 percent), terrorism (7 percent) and gun policy (7 percent).

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STATE OF THE ECONOMY

Voters have a positive view of the nation’s current economic outlook — 59 percent said the nation’s economy is good, compared with 40 percent who said it’s not good.

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TRUMP FACTOR

For 35 percent of Mississippi voters, President Donald Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their votes. By comparison, 38 percent said a reason for their vote was to express support for Trump, and 26 percent said they voted to express opposition to Trump.

A majority of voters in Mississippi had positive views of Trump: 56 percent said they approve of how he is handling his job as president, while 44 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 78 percent of Mississippi voters said which party will hold control was very important as they considered their vote. Another 16 percent said it was somewhat important.

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STAYING AT HOME

In Mississippi, 71 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 — 88 percent — did not have a college degree. More nonvoters were Republicans (41 percent) than Democrats (23 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 3,031 voters and 833 nonvoters in Mississippi 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 2.5 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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