VoteCast: Maryland voters say nation headed wrong direction

Published 11-07-2018

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A majority of voters casting midterm election ballots in Maryland 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 on Tuesday, AP VoteCast found that about a third of Maryland voters said the country is on the right track, compared with 7 in 10 who said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Here's a snapshot of who voted and why in Maryland, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 138,000 voters and nonvoters - including 3,943 voters and 647 nonvoters in the state of Maryland - conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

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RACE FOR GOVERNOR

Voters under 45 were split between Republican Larry Hogan, the incumbent, and Democrat Ben Jealous in the race for governor. Voters ages 45 and older were more likely to support Hogan.

Black voters favored Jealous, a former NAACP president, and Hispanic voters were divided. White voters overall favored Hogan.

Whites without a college degree favored Hogan. Likewise, white college graduates favored Hogan.

Hogan was seeking to become the first Republican re-elected to the state's highest post since 1954. Jealous was vying to become Maryland's first black governor.

Jonathan Epps, a mason with Baltimore's public works department, was one of numerous African-Americans in the majority black city who told The Associated Press they backed Hogan. "With Hogan, you know what you're getting. I just trust his leadership and it seems every time we have a Republican in control of this state things just seem to work better," said Epps, a 45-year

Black voters favored Jealous, a former NAACP president, and Hispanic voters were divided. White voters overall favored Hogan.

Whites without a college degree favored Hogan. Likewise, white college graduates favored Hogan.

Hogan was seeking to become the first Republican re-elected to the state's highest post since 1954. Jealous was vying to become Maryland's first black governor.

Jonathan Epps, a mason with Baltimore's public works department, was one of numerous African-Americans in the majority black city who told The Associated Press they backed Hogan. "With Hogan, you know what you're getting. I just trust his leadership and it seems every time we have a Republican in control of this state things just seem to work better," said Epps, a 45-year-old father of seven.

Epps said Hogan won his vote because he is the rare Republican politician who routinely champions centrist positions while freely criticizing Trump.

Rose Monroe, a retired English professor at Baltimore City Community College, said she voted for Jealous because she though he would focus on Baltimore more than Hogan has done. Monroe said the city desperately needed a robust mass transit system yet Hogan scrapped

Hogan was seeking to become the first Republican re-elected to the state's highest post since 1954. Jealous was vying to become Maryland's first black governor.

Jonathan Epps, a mason with Baltimore's public works department, was one of numerous African-Americans in the majority black city who told The Associated Press they backed Hogan. "With Hogan, you know what you're getting. I just trust his leadership and it seems every time we have a Republican in control of this state things just seem to work better," said Epps, a 45-year-old father of seven.

Epps said Hogan won his vote because he is the rare Republican politician who routinely champions centrist positions while freely criticizing Trump.

Rose Monroe, a retired English professor at Baltimore City Community College, said she voted for Jealous because she though he would focus on Baltimore more than Hogan has done. Monroe said the city desperately needed a robust mass transit system yet Hogan scrapped a $3-billion Red Line light rail project that she thinks would have transformed transportation in Baltimore. She also said education and economic opportunities had to be improved for young people.

"There are things I like about Hogan, but ultimately I don't think he cares much about Baltimore City. I think Jealous would be more concerned. I think he's more aware that the city needs more help," said Monroe, whose lapel pin read: "Vote, It's a Serious Matter."

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RACE FOR THE SENATE

In his quest for a third Senate term, Democrat Ben Cardin had an edge over Republican Tony Campbell among white voters. Whites with a college education supported Cardin, and whites without a college degree mostly supported Campbell, a Towson University politics lecturer and former U.S. Army chaplain.

Cardin led among black voters and also led among Hispanic voters.

Voters under 45 were more likely to favor Cardin; those ages 45 and older supported Cardin.

Neal Simon, a business executive from Potomac, Maryland, also ran as an unaffiliated candidate.

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TOP ISSUE: HEALTH CARE

Health care was at the forefront of voters' minds: About a third named it as the most important issue facing the nation in this year's midterm elections. Others considered the economy (2 in 10), immigration (2 in 10), gun policy (1 in 10) and the environment (nearly 1 in 10) to be the top issue.

Marion O'Connor, of Oxon Hill, said she voted for Ben Jealous for governor because of the Democrat's proposal for Medicare for all. "I do believe everyone should be covered under some type of a plan, and it should be affordable," she said during early voting. "It shouldn't have to break the bank for children or seniors or even the working to have health care."

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STATE OF THE ECONOMY

Voters have a positive view of the nation's current economic outlook - 6 in 10 said the nation's economy is good, compared with 4 in 10 who said it's not good.

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TRUMP FACTOR

For a third of Maryland voters, President Donald Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their vote. By comparison, more than 6 in 10 said Trump was a reason for their vote.

Barbara Stortz, of Annapolis, Maryland, usually only votes in presidential years. But she said sge came out to vote an all-Democratic ticket this election amid concerns about Trump. "Honestly, I usually only turn out for the presidential election, but I'm just really incredibly disappointed, and I have so many words about who's in charge running our country right now," she said.

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CONTROL OF CONGRESS

Tuesday's elections will determine control of Congress in the final two years of Trump's first term in office, and three-quarters of Maryland voters said which party will hold control was very important as they considered their vote. Another fifth said it was somewhat important.

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-David Trone, a Democrat and co-owner of a national wine store chain, was running for Maryland's only open House seat in District 6. He faces Amie Hoeber, a Republican and national security consultant.

-All 141 seats in the Maryland House of Delegates were being decided. The chamber has 91 Democrats and 50 Republicans. Democrats needed to keep 85 seats to have the three-fifths vote needed to override a veto from the governor.

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CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

A constitutional amendment that would require casino revenue set aside for schools to be used to enhance education spending above state funding formulas is on the ballot. Voters also will be deciding a constitutional amendment to allow residents to register and vote at their polling places on Election Day.

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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 3,943 voters and 647 nonvoters in Maryland 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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For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

Associated Press writers Brian Witte in Annapolis and David McFadden in Baltimore contributed to this report.

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