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VoteCast: California voters say nation headed wrong way

November 7, 2018

A majority of voters casting midterm election ballots in California 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 in Tuesday’s elections, AP VoteCast found that 28 percent of California voters said the country is on the right track, compared with 70 percent who said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in California, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 139,000 voters and nonvoters _ including 3,769 voters and 617 nonvoters in the state of California _ conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

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RACE FOR SENATE

In the race for Senate, Democrat Dianne Feinstein had an apparent advantage over Democrat Kevin De Leon among white voters. Whites with a college education modestly supported Feinstein, and whites without a college degree were split.

Feinstein had a sizable advantage among black voters, and Hispanic voters were split.

Voters under 45 were divided in their support; those ages 45 and older appeared to prefer Feinstein.

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RACE FOR GOVERNOR

Democrat Gavin Newsom led Republican John Cox among voters under 45 in the race for governor. Voters ages 45 and older leaned toward Newsom.

Black voters and Hispanic voters preferred Newsom. White voters overall were split over Newsom and Cox.

Whites without a college degree were divided over Newsom and Cox. Conversely, white college graduates appeared to prefer Newsom.

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TOP ISSUE: HEALTH CARE

Health care was at the forefront of voters’ minds: 26 percent named it as the most important issue facing the nation in this year’s midterm elections. Others considered the economy (19 percent), immigration (19 percent), the environment (11 percent) and gun policy (9 percent) to be the top issue.

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STATE OF THE ECONOMY

Voters have a positive view of the nation’s current economic outlook _ 58 percent said the nation’s economy is good, compared with 41 percent who said it’s not good.

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TRUMP FACTOR

For 31 percent of California voters, President Donald Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their votes. By comparison, 16 percent said a reason for their vote was to express support for Trump, and 52 percent said they voted to express opposition to Trump.

A majority of voters in California had negative views of Trump: 71 percent said they disapprove of how he is handling his job as president, while 28 percent said they approve 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 70 percent of California voters said which party will hold control was very important as they considered their vote. Another 21 percent said it was somewhat important.

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STAYING AT HOME

In California, 73 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 _ 78 percent _ did not have a college degree. More nonvoters were Democrats (46 percent) than Republicans (19 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 3,769 voters and 617 nonvoters in California 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 1.9 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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