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VoteCast: NH voters dislike Trump, like handling of economy

November 7, 2018
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Nora Vonderhorst, 1, looks up at her mother while she fills out her ballot at the polling station in Chesterfield, N.H., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A majority of New Hampshire voters have negative views on President Donald Trump, but more than half approve of how he is handling the economy, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.

AP VoteCast found that most voters casting ballots for governor and members of Congress in Tuesday’s elections disapprove of Trump decisively on health care, immigration, international trade and Supreme Court nominations. Fifty-four percent approved of the president on the economy, while 45 percent disapproved.

The state’s unemployment rate stood at 2.7 percent in September, tied for third lowest in the nation.

Six in 10 New Hampshire voters said the country is on the wrong track, compared with around 4 in 10 who said the country is headed in the right direction.

Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in New Hampshire, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 139,000 voters and nonvoters — including 2,753 voters and 525 nonvoters in the state of New Hampshire — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

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RACE FOR GOVERNOR

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu defeated Democrat Molly Kelly. Only two governors in the past 100 years have run for re-election and lost after a single term.

Voters ages 45 and older leaned toward Sununu. Kelly had an apparent advantage over Sununu among voters under 45. Voters without a college degree favored Sununu, while college graduates were split.

Sununu, 44, the son of a former governor and brother of a former U.S. senator, has touted the state’s strong economy and progress on the opioid crisis.

Kelly, who served for a decade in the state senate, had highlighted her background as a former single mother who put herself through college. She criticized Sununu for calling paid family medical leave a “vacation.”

Mark Winzeler, spent 30 years in advertising and now owns an art and antiques shop in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. He voted for Sununu, saying he didn’t feel comfortable with Kelly.

“I don’t have anything against her, but Sununu’s not doing a bad job. He’s doing an adequate job at least,” said the 65-year-old.

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TOP ISSUE: HEALTH CARE

Health care was at the forefront of voters’ minds: around 1 in 4 named it as the most important issue facing the nation in this year’s midterm elections. About 2 in 10 considered immigration or the economy the top issue, while around 1 in 10 named the environment or gun policy.

Brenda Quinn, 53, a psychotherapist from Hopkinton, New Hampshire, said protecting access to health care and gun control were among her top issues.

“There are reasonable accommodations that can be made while we still protect the Second Amendment,” she said.

Quinn said she also was motivated by what is happening at the national level. She is an independent who supported John Kasich’s presidential campaign in 2016.

“I’m an independent, but I probably leaned harder toward the Democratic vote than I ever have in my life. I’m just going that way because I need a sense of safety,” she said.

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STATE OF THE ECONOMY

Voters have a positive view of the nation’s current economic outlook — about 7 in 10 said the nation’s economy is good, compared with 3 in 10 who said it’s not good.

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TRUMP FACTOR

About 4 in 10 New Hampshire voters said they voted to express opposition to President Donald Trump. By comparison, 2 in 10 said a reason for their vote was to express support for Trump, while fewer than 4 in 10 said Trump was not a reason for their vote.

Six in 10 voters said they disapprove of how Trump is handling his job as president, while 4 in 10 said they approve of Trump.

Steve Barba, 72, of Concord, New Hampshire, said he’s voted for candidates on both sides of the slate all his life. He chose not to cast a vote for governor this year. He said he likes Sununu, but “I’ve made a pledge to not vote for another Republican so long as Donald Trump is president.”

He voted for Democratic U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District. Kuster won a fourth term over Republican state Rep. Steve Negron.

Meanwhile, Democrat Chris Pappas defeated Republican Eddie Edwards in the 1st Congressional District, succeeding Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. Pappas has talked about restoring decency in Washington.

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STAYING AT HOME

In New Hampshire, 67 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 — around three-quarters — did not have a college degree. About as many nonvoters were Democrats as Republicans.

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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 2,753 voters and 525 nonvoters in New Hampshire 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 2.7 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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Associated Press writers Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire, and Holly Ramer in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.

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

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