AP VoteCast: Michigan voters sour on state of nation

Nov 16, 2020

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Voters in Michigan made their pick for president while holding negative views about the country’s direction, according to an expansive AP survey of the American electorate.

The race between President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden concluded Tuesday as the nation remains in the throes of a global public health crisis and mired in the economic downturn it brought on. AP VoteCast found that 40% of Michigan voters said the U.S. is on the right track and 60% of voters said it is headed in the wrong direction.

Here’s a snapshot of who voted and what matters to them, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of about 133,000 voters and nonvoters -- including 3,571 voters and 955 nonvoters in Michigan -- conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

TRUMP VS BIDEN

In the race for president, Biden led Trump among voters under 45. Trump was neck and neck with Biden among older voters.

Black voters were more likely to favor Biden while white voters were more likely to support Trump.

College-educated voters were more likely to favor Biden over Trump but voters without a college degree were divided.

Both voters in cities and suburban voters were more likely to prefer Biden but voters in small towns and rural areas were more likely to favor Trump. 

RACE FOR SENATE

In the race for U.S. Senate, Gary Peters led John James among voters under 45. Older voters were split between James and Peters.

Black voters were more likely to favor Peters over James but white voters were more likely to favor James over Peters.

Peters led among college-educated voters. James was about even with Peters among voters without a college degree. 

Both voters in cities and suburban voters were more likely to prefer Peters over James. James led among voters in small towns and rural areas.

FACING THE PANDEMIC

The coronavirus pandemic has spread through the U.S. for roughly eight months, killing more than 230,000 Americans. Overall, 18% of voters said the virus in the U.S. is completely or mostly under control, and 29% said it’s somewhat under control. Fifty-two percent of voters think the coronavirus is not at all under control in this country.

ON THE ISSUES

The coronavirus pandemic was top of mind for many voters in Michigan. Forty-four percent said it is the most important issue facing the country today.

Voters also considered the economy a major issue, with 25% saying it ranked at the top.

Nine percent named health care, 6% named racism and 4% named law enforcement.

NATIONAL ECONOMY

Voters were slightly negative in their assessments of the nation’s economy. Overall, 45% described economic conditions in the U.S. as excellent or good, and 55% called them not so good or poor.

STAYING AT HOME

Among registered voters who chose not to cast a ballot in Michigan, 24% said that was because they don’t like the candidates, 23% said they don’t like politics generally and 12% said their vote doesn’t matter. In Michigan, 62% of nonvoters were younger than 45 and 79% did not have a college degree.

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AP created this story automatically using results from AP VoteCast, a survey of the American electorate conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for Fox News, NPR, PBS NewsHour, Univision News, USA Today Network, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. The survey of 3,571 voters in Michigan was conducted for eight days, concluding as polls closed. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. The survey combines a random sample of registered voters drawn from the state voter file and self-identified registered voters selected from nonprobability online panels. The margin of sampling error for voters is estimated to be plus or minus 2 percentage points. Find more details about AP VoteCast’s methodology at https://ap.org/votecast.