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VoteCast: Baker overcomes dislike of GOP in Massachusetts

November 7, 2018
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Residents cast their ballots in the midterm elections at the Williamstown Elementary School on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Williamstown, Mass. (Gillian Jones/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker overcame intense dislike of his own party to win a second term, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.

Sixty-four percent of Massachusetts voters had a very or somewhat unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party as they cast their ballots for governor, U.S. Senate and members of Congress in Tuesday’s elections, AP VoteCast found.

More than 7 in 10 Massachusetts voters said the country is on the wrong track, compared with fewer than 3 in 10 who said the country is headed in the right direction.

Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in Massachusetts, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 139,000 voters and nonvoters — including 4,010 voters and 587 nonvoters in the state of Massachusetts — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

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RACE FOR SENATE

Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has said she will take a “hard look” at running for president in 2020 once her race to win a second term is over. On Tuesday, she beat Republican Geoff Diehl, who said during the campaign that Warren would soon abandon Massachusetts to focus on a presidential campaign. Diehl was the co-chair of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign in Massachusetts.

In that race, Warren led Diehl both among voters with and without a college education.

Fifty-seven percent of voters had a very or somewhat favorable opinion of Warren, while 39 percent had a very or somewhat unfavorable opinion of her. Asked whether Warren would make a good president, 62 percent of Massachusetts voters said no, while 36 percent said yes.

Forty percent of voters said former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick would make a good president, while 57 percent said he would not.

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RACE FOR GOVERNOR

Republicans make up a small fraction of the total voting population in Massachusetts — and just 32 percent of voters had a very or somewhat favorable opinion of the party — but Baker still beat Democrat Jay Gonzalez, who served as a top official in Patrick’s administration.

Voters under 45 were split between Baker and Gonzalez, while voters ages 45 and older were more likely to support Baker. Voters both with and without a college degree favored Baker over Gonzalez.

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TRUMP FACTOR

Half of Massachusetts voters said they voted to express opposition to President Donald Trump. By comparison, about 1 in 6 said a reason for their vote was to express support for Trump, while about a third said Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their votes.

A majority of voters in Massachusetts had negative views of Trump: about two-thirds said they disapprove of how he is handling his job as president, while around one-third said they approve of Trump.

Molly Downer, 68, a banker from Cambridge, Massachusetts, said she has drifted farther to the left in response to Trump’s behavior and his policies.

“In the old days I would say I had some Republican leanings, but not now, given the way the Republican Party has gone,” she said. “I’m very upset about the current political environment. I detest Trump and what’s going on in politics in the country.”

Her dissatisfaction drove her to go to the polls, where she voted down the ticket for Democrats except for Baker. She supported Warren and Democratic Rep. Katherine Clark.

“I’m hoping that we will get a Democratic Congress,” she said.

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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. One in 5 named immigration as the top issue, while around 1 in 6 named the economy. More than 1 in 10 said gun policy or the environment was the top issue.

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STATE OF THE ECONOMY

Voters have a positive view of the nation’s current economic outlook — two-thirds said the nation’s economy is good, compared with a third who said it’s not good.

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CONTROL OF CONGRESS

Tuesday’s elections determined control of Congress in the final two years of Trump’s first term in office, although none of Massachusetts’ seats in the House were competitive this year. Still, nearly 7 in 10 Massachusetts voters said which party will hold control was very important as they considered their vote. More than 2 in 10 said it was somewhat important.

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STAYING AT HOME

In Massachusetts, two-thirds 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 — about three-quarters — did not have a college degree. More nonvoters were Democrats than 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 4,010 voters and 587 nonvoters in Massachusetts 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 2.3 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 writer Collin Binkley contributed to this report from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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

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