Tuesday November 19th, 2019 1:53PM

AP VoteCast: Trump a dominant force on voters' minds

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was a dominant force in the 2018 midterm elections as attitudes toward the polarizing leader influenced the decisions of nearly two-thirds of voters.

Thirty-eight percent of voters cast their ballots to express opposition to the president, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate, while 26 percent said they voted to express support for Trump.

While Trump was not on the ballot, his controversial administration animated voters on both sides of the aisle, with 2018 likely to set turnout records for a midterm election. Democrats have been activated in opposition to Trump since the moment of his election, while in recent weeks Trump has driven Republicans to the polls by trying to cast the race as a referendum on his administration.

The outcome of Tuesday's races was mixed: Democratic control of the House stands to alter the course of the Trump presidency, while Republican victories in key Senate and gubernatorial races pointed to the enduring strength of the Trump coalition.

The snapshot of who voted and why comes from VoteCast, a nationwide survey of more than 116,000 voters and about 22,000 nonvoters conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Heading into Election Day, Democrats pinned their hopes of retaking the House, and ultimately the White House, on women and minority voters, particularly in suburban districts. Republicans looked to retain their majorities by preserving support among the bloc of voters who propelled Trump to the White House in 2016.

There were reasons for both sides to be emboldened by Tuesday's results.

According to VoteCast, women voted considerably more in favor of their congressional Democratic candidate: About 6 in 10 voted for the Democrat, compared with 4 in 10 for the Republican. Men, by contrast, were more evenly divided in their vote.

Urbanites voted almost 2 to 1 in favor of Democrats, and small-town and rural voters cast votes for Republicans by a significant, but smaller margin.

In suburban areas, where key House races were being decided, voters skewed significantly toward Democrats by an 8-point margin.

Non-white voters cast ballots for Democrats by a roughly 3-to-1 margin.

Democrats needed to gain a net of at least 23 seats in the House and two seats in the Senate to win majorities in the respective chambers. They secured the first, but it was Republicans who won the night for the statewide seats.

Ahead of the election, both parties claimed the emotionally charged debate over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would motivate their supporters to turn out. Kavanaugh faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct from his youth, which he denied.

According to VoteCast, half of voters said the tumultuous process was very important to their vote and they broke for the Democratic House candidate. Still, an overwhelming majority of voters in both parties said the Kavanaugh debate was at least somewhat important to their vote.

And in North Dakota, where Republicans picked up a seat that helped them hold onto control of the Senate, voters concerned about Kavanaugh broke strongly toward the GOP.

Both parties' closing messages appeared to have animated their respective bases, according to VoteCast, with health care and immigration each described as the most important issues in the election by about 25 percent of voters. Of those who listed health care as the most important issue facing the nation, about 3 in 4 voted for the Democratic candidate. About the same percentage of voters who described immigration as the most important issue cast ballots for the Republican.

Opposition to Trump proved to be more a motivating factor for Democrats than support for the president a factor for Republicans. Still, Republican voters tended to be overwhelmingly supportive of the president.

More voters disapproved of Trump's job performance than approved — a finding that is largely consistent with recent polling.

Voters scored Trump positively on the economy and for standing up "for what he believes in." But the president received negative marks from voters on temperament and trustworthiness.

Still, about one-third of voters said Trump was not a factor in their votes.

With the final days of the 2018 campaign interrupted by a spate of politically motivated attempted bombings and a massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, about 2 in 10 Democratic and Republican voters think their own party's way of talking about politics is leading to an increase in violence.

VoteCast debuted Tuesday, replacing the in-person exit poll as a source of detailed information about the American electorate. Developed with NORC at the University of Chicago, it combines a random sample survey of registered voters and a massive poll conducted via opt-in online panels. The resulting research has the accuracy of random sampling and the depth provided by an online poll that interviews tens of thousands.

VoteCast results cannot be reliably compared to the results of previous exit polls, as the two surveys use different methodologies to poll the electorate. Differences between the two may be the result of differences in survey methods, rather than real changes in opinions or makeup of the electorate over time.


AP VoteCast is a survey of the American electorate conducted in all 50 states by NORC at the University of Chicago for The Associated Press and Fox News. The survey of 116,792 voters and 22,137 nonvoters was conducted Oct. 29 to Nov. 6, concluding as polls close on Election Day. It combines interviews in English and Spanish with a random sample of registered voters drawn from state voter files; with self-identified registered voters conducted using NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population; and with self-identified registered voters selected from nonprobability online panels. Participants selected from state voter files 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 0.5 percentage points. All surveys are subject to multiple sources of error, including sampling, question wording and order, and nonresponse. Find more details about AP VoteCast's methodology at

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News
© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Markets Right Now: US futures higher as Dems regain House
Futures for Dow, S&P 500 hold steady as Democrats appear headed for control of U.S. House
1:06AM ( 17 minutes ago )
AP voter poll shows focus on Trump, immigration, health care
Health care, immigration and President Donald Trump were high on voters' minds as they cast ballots in the midterm elections, according to a wide-ranging survey of the electorate conducted by The Associated Press
1:01AM ( 22 minutes ago )
AP VoteCast: Trump a dominant force on voters' minds
President Donald Trump is the dominant force in American politics and the 2018 midterm elections have proven no different, as attitudes toward the polarizing leader influenced the votes of more than 6 in 10 voters
12:58AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Election to shatter record of women in House
Women will break the current record of 84 serving at once in the U.S. House
12:32AM ( 51 minutes ago )
The Latest: Democrat Newsom wins California governor's race
Democrat Gavin Newsom has won the governor's race in California, a state that has provided some of the strongest resistance to President Donald Trump
12:26AM ( 57 minutes ago )
The Latest: Women elected to House in record numbers
Women will break the current record of 84 serving at the same time in the U.S. House.
12:25AM ( 58 minutes ago )
AP National News
The Latest: New Mexico's Heinrich fends off 2 challengers
Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich has been re-elected in a three-way race against a Republican political newcomer and a Libertarian former governor
10:40PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Dem newcomer Sharice Davids wins in Kansas
Democratic newcomer Sharice Davids has defeated incumbent Rep. Kevin Yoder in Kansas to become the nation's first LGBT Native American in Congress
10:39PM ( 2 hours ago )
Democrats chip away at GOP dominance in state governments
Democrats score big victories by ousting the Republican governor of Illinois and winning the open governor's seat in Michigan
10:39PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
The Latest: Cruz fends off O'Rourke in Texas Senate race
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz fended off rising-star Democrat Beto O'Rourke to win re-election in a much-watched Texas Senate race
10:34PM ( 2 hours ago )
Dems flip a string of GOP seats in early House returns
The Democrats have picked up at least 10 Republican-held House seats across the eastern half of the country in early returns as they fight to wrest control of the chamber from the GOP
10:30PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Democrats gain ground for control of House
Democrats picking up key seats in Florida, Pennsylvania and Minnesota
10:28PM ( 2 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Asian shares rise as US midterm elections yield mixed result
Asian shares mostly higher as Democrats look set to take back control of U.S. House
12:27AM ( 56 minutes ago )
A look at some of the winners in Senate races around the US
A look at some of the winners in Senate races around the US
12:15AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Missouri OK's amendment on drawing districts
Missouri voters have approved a constitutional amendment making the state the first to require a specific mathematical formula for determining "partisan fairness" when drawing legislative districts
12:14AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Mitt Romney wins heads to the Senate for Utah
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has handily won a U.S. Senate seat in his adopted home state of Utah
10:46PM ( 2 hours ago )
Out of many, several firsts elected across country
A vote for history: Trailblazing candidates elected in races across the country on Tuesday
10:29PM ( 2 hours ago )
Asian markets rise pending US midterm election results
Asian shares advance ahead of US midterm election outcome
10:23PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
GOP clinging to Congress as voters test Trump strength
GOP clinging to Congress as voters test Trump strength
9:12PM ( 4 hours ago )
A political year dominated by women faces its electoral test
A political year that has been dominated by women's activism faces its final electoral test
8:40PM ( 4 hours ago )
Democrat challenges GOP hold on Florida governor's seat
Florida voters will decide whether to keep the state in Republican control or whether to elect a Democrat as governor for the first time since 1994
8:37PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Elections
Polls closing as voters pit Trump strength, Dems' resistance
President Donald Trump isn't on the ballot but Election Day is offering voters a choice between his policies and the Democratic resistance
7:29PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: White House points to Trump's campaign for GOP
As polls begin to close, the White House is stressing the effort President Donald Trump put into a political ground game on behalf of Republicans
7:21PM ( 6 hours ago )
Battle for the House tests Trump, GOP hold on Congress
The battle for the House is becoming a fight to the finish, as Democrats try to flip the majority
6:17PM ( 7 hours ago )
General Election News
GOP aims to keep Senate control, aided by Trump-friendly map
Republicans are aiming at keeping their hold on the Senate in a campaign that's been dominated by President Donald Trump
7:07PM ( 6 hours ago )
The Latest: Hotline logs 17,500 calls about voting problems
The nonpartisan Election Protection hotline had received some 17,500 calls by Tuesday afternoon from voters experiencing problems at their polling places
6:06PM ( 7 hours ago )
Facebook blocks 115 accounts ahead of US midterm elections
Facebook blocks 115 accounts for suspected "coordinated inauthentic behavior" linked to foreign groups attempting to interfere in U.S. midterm elections on Tuesday
1:24PM ( 12 hours ago )
General Presidential Election News
AP voter poll shows focus on Trump, immigration, health care
Health care, immigration and President Donald Trump were high on voters' minds as they cast ballots in the midterm elections, according to a wide-ranging survey of the electorate conducted by The Associated Press
1:01AM ( 24 minutes ago )
The Latest: GOP Rep. King wins 9th term in Iowa
Republican Steve King has won a ninth term representing northwest Iowa's 4th Congressional District
12:56AM ( 29 minutes ago )
The Latest: Democrat Janet Mills wins Maine governor's seat
Democrats have regained control of the Maine governor's office with a victory in an open-seat election by Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills
12:54AM ( 31 minutes ago )
GOP, Democrats splitting governor's races in key states
Democrats score big victories by winning governor's races in the Midwest, while Republicans hold on to Florida and other presidential battleground states
12:47AM ( 37 minutes ago )
Ellison elected attorney general despite abuse accusation
Democratic congressman Keith Ellison has been elected Minnesota attorney general despite an ex-girlfriend's accusation of domestic abuse
12:47AM ( 38 minutes ago )