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VoteCast: Maryland voters say nation headed wrong direction

November 7, 2018

A majority of voters casting midterm election ballots in Maryland said the country is headed in the wrong direction, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.

As voters cast ballots for governor, U.S. Senate and members of Congress on Tuesday, AP VoteCast found that about a third of Maryland voters said the country is on the right track, compared with 7 in 10 who said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in Maryland, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 135,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,727 voters and 612 nonvoters in the state of Maryland — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.



Popular incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan was seeking to become the first Republican re-elected to the state’s highest post since 1954. His Democratic challenger, Ben Jealous, is a former NAACP president vying to become Maryland’s first black governor.



Health care was at the forefront of voters’ minds: About a third named it as the most important issue facing the nation in this year’s midterm elections. Others considered the economy (2 in 10), immigration (2 in 10), gun policy (1 in 10) and the environment (nearly 1 in 10) to be the top issue.

Marion O’Connor, of Oxon Hill, said she voted for Ben Jealous for governor because of the Democrat’s proposal for Medicare for all. “I do believe everyone should be covered under some type of a plan, and it should be affordable,” she said during early voting. “It shouldn’t have to break the bank for children or seniors or even the working to have health care.”



Voters have a positive view of the nation’s current economic outlook — 6 in 10 said the nation’s economy is good, compared with 4 in 10 who said it’s not good.



For a third of Maryland voters, President Donald Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their vote. By comparison, more than 6 in 10 said Trump was a reason for their vote.

Barbara Stortz, of Annapolis, Maryland, said she usually only votes in presidential years, but came out to vote an all-Democratic ticket this election cycle because of her concerns about Trump. “Honestly, I usually only turn out for the presidential election, but I’m just really incredibly disappointed, and I have so many words about who’s in charge running our country right now,” she said.



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



—Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat, is running for a third Senate term. He faced Republican Tony Campbell, a Towson University politics lecturer and former U.S. Army chaplain. Neal Simon, a business executive from Potomac, Maryland, also ran as an unaffiliated candidate.

—David Trone, a Democrat and co-owner of a national wine store chain, was running for Maryland’s only open House seat in District 6. He faces Amie Hoeber, a Republican and national security consultant.

—All 141 seats in the Maryland House of Delegates were being decided. The chamber has 91 Democrats and 50 Republicans. Democrats needed to keep 85 seats to have the three-fifths vote needed to override a veto from the governor.



A constitutional amendment that would require casino revenue set aside for schools to be used to enhance education spending above state funding formulas is on the ballot. Voters also will be deciding a constitutional amendment to allow residents to register and vote at their polling places on Election Day.


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 3,727 voters and 612 nonvoters in Maryland 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 2.1 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.


AP created this story automatically using data from NORC.




Associated Press writers Brian Witte in Annapolis and David McFadden in Baltimore contributed to this report.

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