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 139,000 voters and nonvoters - including 3,945 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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HOGAN WINS RE-ELECTION AS GOVERNO

Larry Hogan became the first Republican governor to win re-election in Maryland since 1954 by beating Democrat Ben Jealous on Tuesday. Hogan, who is only the second Republican governor to win two terms in Maryland's history, won in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1.

Hogan has maintained a moderate political course, advocating lower taxes and fiscal responsibility. "Tonight, the voters of Maryland put aside divisive partisan politics, and the people in our great state voted for civility, for bipartisanship and for commonsense leadership," he told cheering supporters.

His Democratic challenger took to a stage at a historic Baltimore theater late Tuesday to concede defeat. Jealous, a former leader of the NAACP who was trying to become Maryland's first black governor, told supporters he called Hogan to wish him the best, saying he had "no doubt that he cares deeply about our state and the families who call it home."

Black voters favored Jealous, and Hispanic voters were divided. White voters overall favored Hogan. Vote

Hogan has maintained a moderate political course, advocating lower taxes and fiscal responsibility. "Tonight, the voters of Maryland put aside divisive partisan politics, and the people in our great state voted for civility, for bipartisanship and for commonsense leadership," he told cheering supporters.

His Democratic challenger took to a stage at a historic Baltimore theater late Tuesday to concede defeat. Jealous, a former leader of the NAACP who was trying to become Maryland's first black governor, told supporters he called Hogan to wish him the best, saying he had "no doubt that he cares deeply about our state and the families who call it home."

Black voters favored Jealous, and Hispanic voters were divided. White voters overall favored Hogan. Voters under 45 were split between Hogan and Jealous. Voters ages 45 and older were more likely to support Hogan.

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RACE FOR THE SENATE

The popular and well-funded Democrat Ben Cardin cruised to a third term representing Maryland in the U.S. Senate, easily defeating a GOP challenger and an unaffiliated candidate.

Cardin told The Associated Press he was "very gratified and flattered" to again earn the confidence of Maryland's voters. He said he planned to focus on "advancing the values of the country" while boosting education and protecting health care, among other goals.

Political analysts had forecast that Cardin would easily win re-election for more reasons than his campaign war chest - last reported at roughly $3 million. He enjoys major name recognition in Maryland, serving 20 years in the U.S. House before becoming a senator in 2006.

Cardin's win over Republican Tony Campbell and unaffiliated Neal Simon was the first victory Tuesday night in Maryl

Black voters favored Jealous, and Hispanic voters were divided. White voters overall favored Hogan. Voters under 45 were split between Hogan and Jealous. Voters ages 45 and older were more likely to support Hogan.

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RACE FOR THE SENATE

The popular and well-funded Democrat Ben Cardin cruised to a third term representing Maryland in the U.S. Senate, easily defeating a GOP challenger and an unaffiliated candidate.

Cardin told The Associated Press he was "very gratified and flattered" to again earn the confidence of Maryland's voters. He said he planned to focus on "advancing the values of the country" while boosting education and protecting health care, among other goals.

Political analysts had forecast that Cardin would easily win re-election for more reasons than his campaign war chest - last reported at roughly $3 million. He enjoys major name recognition in Maryland, serving 20 years in the U.S. House before becoming a senator in 2006.

Cardin's win over Republican Tony Campbell and unaffiliated Neal Simon was the first victory Tuesday night in Maryland after voters chose a governor, eight U.S. House seats, as well as 188 state legislators on a rainy Election Day.

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.

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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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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 was on the ballot. Voters also were 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 3,945 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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