Minnesota voters say nation headed wrong way

Published 2:01 am Wednesday, November 7, 2018

CHICAGO — Health care was the top issue cited by Minnesota voters in the midterm election and most believe 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 about two-thirds of Minnesota voters said the country is headed in the wrong direction, while about a third said it was on the right track.

Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in Minnesota, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 135,000 voters and nonvoters — including 4,167 voters and 671 nonvoters in the state of Minnesota — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

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Top issue: health care

Health care was at the forefront of voters’ minds: More than one-third of Minnesota voters named it as the most important issue facing the nation in this year’s midterm elections, followed by immigration, cited by about 2 in 10 voters. Others said the economy, the environment and gun policy were top issues.

Sarah Roth, 22, of Minnetonka, Minnesota, said she voted for all Democrats because health care was so important.

“I think that having health care is a universal right that everybody in this country should have,” said Roth, who works at an autism day treatment center for young children. “People are dying from not having health care.”


State of the economy

Phillip Baum, 63, of Minnetonka, said the economy is treating him well: He’s a general contractor who has 30 employees and “I don’t ever want to live through another one of the Great Recessions.”

He’s like the majority of Minnesota voters, who have a positive view of the nation’s current economic outlook: 7 in 10 said the nation’s economy is good, compared with 3 in 10 who said it’s not.

Even so, the grandfather of four — a moderate conservative — said tariffs are starting to affect him.

“I’m concerned if they hold long-term, it will affect the economy, because I buy a lot of steel,” Baum said.


Trump factor and control of congress

President Donald Trump affected the majority of voters in the midterm election, with more than 6 in 10 saying he was a factor in how they voted while more than one-third said he wasn’t.

Roth, the Minnetonka children’s day center worker, said Trump was a factor in her vote for Democrats — with a hope that Republicans lose control of the House.

Tuesday’s elections will determine control of Congress in the final two years of Trump’s term in office, and two-thirds of Minnesota 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.

“I think the past couple of years, ever since President Trump has been in office, it has just been not the country that I am used to or that I thought I would be in,” Roth said. “This … was my opportunity to help this country in changing who is making the decisions.”