VoteCast: Trump casts big shadow in Pennsylvania midterms

Published 11-07-2018

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TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A majority of Pennsylvania voters said President Donald Trump influenced their decisions while casting ballots in the midterm election and many wanted to send a message to him, 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 also weighing heavily on the minds of voters was which party will have control of Congress during the final two years of Trump's first term in office.

Here's a snapshot of who voted and why in Pennsylvania, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 138,000 voters and nonvoters - including 3,946 voters and 810 nonvoters in the state of Pennsylvania - conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

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TRUMP FACTOR

Two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters said Trump was a factor they considered while casting their vote while one-third said the president didn't influence their decision.

About four in 10 cast their ballots to express opposition to the president while about a quarter of the voters said they were casting ballots to express support for Trump.

Democratic voter Jeremy Kastrup, of Falls Township, Pennsylvania, said the Trump administration has been "just straight up sloppy" in running the country.

Overall, a little over half had negative views of how Trump is handling his job as president.

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RACE FOR SENATE

In the U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey won a third term by doing well enough among white voters and doing even better with black and Hispanic voters.

Casey had an apparent advantage over Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta among all white voters. Whites with a college education preferred Casey, and whites without a college degree were more evenly split.

Voters

About four in 10 cast their ballots to express opposition to the president while about a quarter of the voters said they were casting ballots to express support for Trump.

Democratic voter Jeremy Kastrup, of Falls Township, Pennsylvania, said the Trump administration has been "just straight up sloppy" in running the country.

Overall, a little over half had negative views of how Trump is handling his job as president.

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RACE FOR SENATE

In the U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey won a third term by doing well enough among white voters and doing even better with black and Hispanic voters.

Casey had an apparent advantage over Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta among all white voters. Whites with a college education preferred Casey, and whites without a college degree were more evenly split.

Voters under 45 favored Casey while those ages 45 and older slightly leaned toward Casey.

Casey also was a frequent critic of Trump while Barletta has been among the president's most reliable defenders.

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RACE FOR GOVERNOR

Democratic incumbent Tom Wolf prevailed over Republican Scott Wagner in the race for governor with a sizable advantage among voters under 45. Voters ages 45 and older also favored Wolf by a large margin.

Black voters and Hispanic voters also went with Wolf.

White voters overa

Overall, a little over half had negative views of how Trump is handling his job as president.

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RACE FOR SENATE

In the U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey won a third term by doing well enough among white voters and doing even better with black and Hispanic voters.

Casey had an apparent advantage over Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta among all white voters. Whites with a college education preferred Casey, and whites without a college degree were more evenly split.

Voters under 45 favored Casey while those ages 45 and older slightly leaned toward Casey.

Casey also was a frequent critic of Trump while Barletta has been among the president's most reliable defenders.

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RACE FOR GOVERNOR

Democratic incumbent Tom Wolf prevailed over Republican Scott Wagner in the race for governor with a sizable advantage among voters under 45. Voters ages 45 and older also favored Wolf by a large margin.

Black voters and Hispanic voters also went with Wolf.

White voters overall tilted slightly toward the Democrat. Whites without a college degree were split between the two, but white college graduates gave an edge to Wolf.

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CONTROL OF CONGRESS

Tuesday's elections will determine control of Congress during the next two years, and nearly all Pennsylvania voters said that was on their minds as they considered their vote. Seven in 10 said it was a very important factor.

Democrats came into the midterm election hoping to flip as many as six seats after a state Supreme Court decision forced a redraw of the congressional district boundaries

Republican Rosanne Palmieri, of Falls Township, Pennsylvania, voted for Trump in 2016 and gives him mixed reviews, but she wishes he would "keep his mouth shut." Still, she hopes Republicans keep control of Congress. "Sometimes I think that he is his worst enemy," she said.

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TOP ISSUE: HEALTH CARE

More voters in Pennsylvania said health care was the most important issue facing the nation in this year's midterm elections followed by immigration and the economy.

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STATE OF THE ECONOMY

Voters in Pennsylvania have a positive outlook on the nation's economy, with two-thirds saying it's in good shape. But they took a different turn when it comes to the direction of the nation. Nearly 6 in 10 think the country is on the wrong track.

The question in Pennsylvania was who will benefit from a healthy economy - the Democratic incumbents in the Senate and governor's race or Republicans who credit Trump for the recovery.

During his run for governor, Republican challenger Scott Wagner has credited Trump with invigorating the economy, but said that too many state regulations and taxes were holding back Pennsylvania's fortunes.

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STAYING AT HOME

In Pennsylvania, most of the registered voters who chose not to vote in the midterm election were younger than 45. A wide share of those who did not vote - three-fourths - did not have a college degree. Just about the same number of Democrats and Republicans stayed home.

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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 3,946 voters and 810 nonvoters in Pennsylvania 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 2.0 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 Maryclaire Dale in Falls Township, Pennsylvania, contributed to this report.

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

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