How worry about Trump helped hand Menendez a win in New Jersey
Nearly all of New Jersey's voters casting midterm election ballots said deciding who controls Congress played a role in their decision, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.
As voters cast ballots for U.S. Senate and members of Congress in Tuesday's elections, AP VoteCast found most said that President Donald Trump was a factor in their vote while a majority also said the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Here's a snapshot of who voted and why in New Jersey, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 138,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,821 voters and 667 nonvoters in the state of New Jersey — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.
RACE FOR SENATE
In the race for U.S. Senate, Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez split the vote with Republican challenger Bob Hugin among all white voters.
Whites with a college education were almost evenly divided while whites without a college degree preferred Hugin.
Menendez had a sizable advantage among black voters and also was preferred among Hispanic voters.
Voters under 45 were more likely to favor Menendez; those ages 45 and older were split.
CONTROL OF CONGRESS
Tuesday's elections will determine control of Congress in the final two years of Trump's first term in office. Almost all of the state's voters said that was an important factor when they considered their vote, with 7 in 10 saying it was very important.
New Jersey's suburbs were a key battleground for House control with two open seats vacated by veteran Republicans, and a pair of competitive races in the state's 3rd and 7th districts.
Two-thirds of New Jersey voters said Trump played a role in their decision while one-third said the president wasn't an influence.
Almost half of voters cast their ballots to express opposition to the president while about one in five said they voted to express support for Trump.
A majority had negative views of Trump, with six in 10 saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job.
"He creates so much bad tensions between people, in relationships. At work, you can't even talk politics anymore and I think that's not right," said Connie Stoerk, who lives in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey. She said the votes she cast for Democratic candidates were a direct response to Trump.
In the state's U.S. Senate race, Menendez often pointed out that his opponent had been a prominent donor and supporter of the president. But Hugin said during the campaign that his views didn't mirror the president and he was "no Trump Republican." He promised to stand up to Trump when they disagree.
TOP ISSUE: HEALTH CARE
Health care was the top issue facing the nation for most New Jersey voters followed by the economy and immigration.
Ronald J. Hadley, 58, of Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey, said he embraces Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration and voted Republican so the president will have the support in Congress to continue his policies. "You've got to take this country back. We were built by immigrants. There's no reason we can't thrive with immigrants — legal immigrants!" Hadley said.
Making sure people have "decent health care" as well as standing up for immigrants were the top issues for Virginia Gollin, of Hopatcong, New Jersey, who described herself as a moderate Republican up until she switched parties. Her parents immigrated to the country from Italy and she said she views Trump as sowing "fear, xenophobic fear."
STATE OF THE ECONOMY
New Jersey voters had a pretty positive outlook on the economy, with two-thirds saying it's in good shape. But just about the same amount said the country was on the wrong track.
STAYING AT HOME
In New Jersey, more than half of registered voters who chose not to vote in the midterm election were younger than 45. A wide share of those who did not vote — about two-thirds — did not have a college degree. About as many nonvoters were Democrats as Republicans.
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 3,821 voters and 667 nonvoters in New Jersey 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 2.2 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.
(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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