By John Flesher, Associated Press
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Health care and President Donald Trump’s performance were important factors for Michigan residents who cast midterm election ballots Tuesday, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate that found widespread unease with the nation’s course.
Among Michigan voters casting ballots for governor, U.S. senator and members of Congress, AP VoteCast found that about six in 10 believed the country is heading in the wrong direction, while nearly four in 10 said things are on the right track.
Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in Michigan, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 135,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,872 voters and 644 nonvoters in the state of Michigan — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.
TOP ISSUE: HEALTH CARE
Health care was at the forefront of voters’ minds, with about three in 10 labeling it the top issue facing the nation.
“People don’t make job changes or move or start new businesses because they’re scared of losing their health care,” said Kristin Schrader, a marketing and communications officer from Superior Township in Washtenaw County. “It’s this big, wet blanket that keeps America and the economy from being what it could be.”
About one-fifth of Michigan voters considered the economy and jobs the most important issue.
“If we have jobs, we can have immigrants because there will be work for them to do,” said Tina Newby, 43, an information technology specialist from Westland. “If we have jobs, there will be money for health care. If we don’t have the jobs, everything sinks.”
Nearly as many voters said immigration was the top issue, while smaller numbers chose gun policy and the environment.
STATE OF THE ECONOMY
Michigan voters were mostly upbeat about the U.S. economy, with about two-thirds saying it’s in good shape, while about one-third described it as bad.
“My husband has gotten pay raises, promotions, in the last couple of years,” said Jackie Malega, 34, a stay-at-home mom in Westland. “I don’t see as many of my friends struggling as they were a few years ago. Everywhere I go, I see hiring signs.”
Shayne Daley, 51, an executive recruiter from Detroit, said the economic expansion and job growth are holdovers from the Obama administration that probably won’t last.
“Every policy that Trump pushes is threatening that economic growth,” he said.
About six in 10 Michigan voters said their feelings about Trump influenced their ballot choices, while about four in 10 said the president wasn’t a factor. But even some who said Trump didn’t play a role in deciding for whom they’d vote said he helped motivate them to participate.
“Overall, I would have voted for the same candidates regardless of the Trump effect,” said Tyler Bevier, 26, a Traverse City Democrat who works in a local government planning office. “But it lit the fire of desire a bit more to go out and vote.”
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 six in 10 Michigan voters said which party will hold control was very important as they considered their vote. Roughly one-quarter said it was somewhat important.
“The Republicans in Congress have abdicated their constitutional responsibility to provide checks and balances,” Daley said. “They’ve allowed Trump to do whatever he likes. Absolutely deplorable.”
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 3,872 voters and 644 nonvoters in Michigan 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.
© 2018, Newspaper Staff. All rights reserved.