5 takeaways from the AP’s midterm election survey in Massachusetts

Health care was at the forefront of voters' minds.

People line up to turn in their completed ballots, in the Squantum Elementary School gym, in the evening.
People line up to turn in their completed ballots at Quincy's Squantum Elementary School on Tuesday evening. –Pat Greenhouse / The Boston Globe

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A majority of voters casting midterm election ballots in Massachusetts 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 in Tuesday’s elections, AP VoteCast found that nearly three-quarters of Massachusetts voters said the country is on the wrong track, compared with 1 in 4 who said the country is headed in the right direction.

Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in Massachusetts, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 135,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,939 voters and 567 nonvoters in the state of Massachusetts — 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: 1 in 4 named it as the most important issue facing the nation in this year’s midterm elections. One in 5 named immigration as the top issue, while around 1 in 6 named the economy. Around 1 in 10 said gun policy or the environment was the top issue.

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State of the economy

Voters have a positive view of the nation’s current economic outlook — two-thirds said the nation’s economy is good, compared with one-third who said it’s not good.

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Trump factor

Two-thirds of Massachusetts voters said President Donald Trump was a factor they considered while casting their vote. By comparison, one-third said Trump was not a reason for their vote.

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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, although none of Massachusetts’ seats in the House are considered competitive this year. Still, 7 in 10 Massachusetts voters said which party will hold control was very important as they considered their vote. Two in 10 said it was somewhat important.

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Races to watch

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is running for a second four-year term as the top office-holder in a state where Republicans make up a small fraction of the total voting population. He has maintained a daunting lead in fundraising over Democrat Jay Gonzalez, who served as a top official in the administration of former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.

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Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has said she will take a “hard look” at running for president in 2020 once her race to win a second term is over. Her opponent, Republican Geoff Diehl, has charged that Warren would soon abandon Massachusetts to focus on a presidential campaign. Diehl was the co-chair of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign in Massachusetts.

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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 3,939 voters and 567 nonvoters in Massachusetts 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 2.3 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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