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Survey: Voters say nation headed wrong direction

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A majority of voters casting midterm election ballots nationally 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 42 percent of voters said the country is on the right track, compared with 56 percent who said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of 116,792 voters and 22,137 nonvoters – conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

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RACE FOR CONGRESS

In the race for Congress, Republican candidates had an apparent advantage over Democratic candidates among white voters nationwide. The Democrats were preferred among black voters and also had a sizable advantage among Hispanic voters. College graduates leaned toward Democrats, while those without a college degree were split.

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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 country in this year’s midterm elections. Smaller shares considered immigration (23 percent), the economy (19 percent), gun policy (8 percent) and the environment (7 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 – 66 percent said the nation’s economy is good, compared with 33 percent who said it’s not good.

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TRUMP FACTOR

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

A majority of voters nationally had negative views of Trump: 55 percent said they disapprove of how he is handling his job as president, while 45 percent said they approve of Trump.

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STAYING AT HOME

Nationally, 70 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 – 80 percent – did not have a college degree. About as many nonvoters were Democrats (32 percent) as Republicans (32 percent).

About the survey

AP VoteCast is a survey of the American electorate conducted in all 50 states by NORC at the University of Chicago for The Associated Press and Fox News. The survey of 116,792 voters and 22,137 nonvoters was conducted Oct. 29 to Nov. 6, concluding as polls close on Election Day. It combines interviews in English and Spanish with a random sample of registered voters drawn from state voter files; with self-identified registered voters conducted using NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population; and with self-identified registered voters selected from opt-in online panels. Participants selected from state voter files 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 0.5 percentage points. All surveys are subject to multiple sources of error, including 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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