AP VoteCast: Virginia voters sour on state of nation

Voters in Virginia 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 38% of Virginia voters said the U.S. is on the right track and 62% 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 2,288 voters and 451 nonvoters in Virginia — 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. Older voters modestly preferred Biden over Trump.

Black voters were more likely to back Biden while white voters were more likely to prefer Trump over Biden.

Biden was preferred over Trump among college-educated voters while Trump and Biden were about even among voters without a college degree.

Both voters in cities and suburban voters were more likely to favor Biden over Trump. Voters in small towns and rural areas were more likely to back Trump.

RACE FOR SENATE

In the race for U.S. Senate, Warner led Gade among voters under 45. Mark Warner had an edge over Daniel Gade among older voters.

Black voters were more likely to back Warner while white voters modestly preferred Gade over Warner.

Warner had an edge over Gade among voters without a college degree. Warner led among college-educated voters.

Both voters in cities and suburban voters were more likely to support Warner. Gade had an advantage over Warner 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 30% said it’s somewhat under control. Fifty-one 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 Virginia. Forty-one 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.

Ten percent named health care, 9% named racism and 4% named climate change.

NATIONAL ECONOMY

Voters were more negative than positive in their assessments of the nation’s economy. Overall, 42% described economic conditions in the U.S. as excellent or good, and 58% called them not so good or poor.

STAYING AT HOME

Among registered voters who chose not to cast a ballot in Virginia, 26% said that was because they don’t like politics generally, 20% said their vote doesn’t matter and 15% said they don’t like the candidates.

In Virginia, 70% of nonvoters were younger than 45 and 77% did not have a college degree.

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 2,288 voters in Virginia 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 2.6 percentage points. Find more details about AP VoteCast’s methodology at https://ap.org/votecast.

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For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. presidential elections: https://apnews.com/hub/election-2020

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