By Tammy Webber, Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Health care and President Trump’s policies were important issues among Indiana residents in the midterm election, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate that found they’re divided over the state of the nation.
As voters cast ballots for U.S. Senate and members of Congress in Tuesday’s elections, AP VoteCast found that Indiana voters were split on whether the country is on the right track, with about half saying the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in Indiana, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 135,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,914 voters and 754 nonvoters in the state of Indiana — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.
RACE FOR SENATE
Voters were deciding whether to give President Trump another ally in Congress — Mike Braun, a Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly. Trump visited the state several times to campaign for Braun.
Donnelly — who rarely mentions that he’s a Democrat — has said he agrees with Trump on some issues but promises he won’t be a rubber stamp. Still, he has adopted some of the president’s fiery rhetoric, ridiculing socialists and the “radical left” and calling on Congress to fund a border wall with Mexico.
TOP ISSUE: HEALTH CARE
Health care was at the forefront of Indiana voters’ minds, with almost 3 in 10 naming it as the most important issue facing the nation in this year’s midterm elections — including 30-year-old Cordell Chaney, who works at a Fort Wayne wire and cable products manufacturer. The father of four, with a fifth on the way, worries that Republicans will get rid of the Affordable Care Act if they remain in control of Congress.
“It really upsets me,” said Chaney, a member of the steelworkers’ union who said affordable health care that covers pre-existing conditions is critical. “Decent health insurance should be a right.”
More than one-fifth of voters considered immigration to be the top issue, while another one-fifth said it was the economy.
STATE OF THE ECONOMY
Indiana voters have a positive view of the nation’s current economic outlook — seven in 10 said the nation’s economy is good, which about 3 in 10 said it isn’t.
Forty-three-year-old steelworker Randy Graham said he has mixed feelings: He supports President Donald Trump’s move to impose tariffs on some foreign steel and aluminum, but not some of the president’s other steps, which he considers anti-labor.
“The tariffs have been great, they’ve helped stabilize the steel market, but he’s done other things that have undermined organized labor as well,” Graham said.
Chaney, the Fort Wayne worker, said Trump was a factor in his vote because, “I don’t think that he’s a leader” and he’s worried about the president’s tone.
“I believe that the president has taken us back. We’re not progressing, With the racial things he says, especially with immigration … I believe it’s hate,” said Chaney, who’s biracial.
For one-third of Indiana voters, President Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their votes. But the majority of voters said he was a factor — with about one-third of them saying their vote was to support Trump and another one-third saying they voted to express opposition to the president.
Voters in Indiana had mixed views of Trump: About half said they approve of how he is handling his job as president, while just under half said they disapprove of Trump.
CONTROL OF CONGRESS
Tuesday’s elections will determine control of Congress in the final two years of Trump’s first term in office, and about 7 in 10 Indiana voters said which party will hold control was very important as they considered their vote. Another 2 in 10 said it was somewhat important.
Mark Allan, a 50-year-old truck driver from Indianapolis, said he likes how Trump is leading the country, particularly when it comes to immigration and foreign policy, and wanted to cast a ballot for someone who will vote for the president’s priorities.
“We need to keep the Senate Republican to support the agenda of Donald Trump,” he said.
STAYING AT HOME
In Indiana, 7 in 10 registered voters who chose not to vote in the midterm election were younger than 45. A wide share of those who did not vote — more than 8 in 10 — did not have a college degree. About one quarter of nonvoters were Democrats and more than one-third were Republicans.
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 3,914 voters and 754 nonvoters in Indiana 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.
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