Indiana voters give Trump another ally in Congress
By TAMMY WEBBER
CHICAGO (AP) - President Trump figured large in Indiana's midterm election, as voters gave the president another ally in Congress by electing political upstart and multimillionaire Republican businessman Mike Braun to the Senate. Even so, voters were divided over the state of the nation, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.
AP VoteCast found that Indiana voters were split on whether the country is on the right track, with 52 percent saying the country is on the right track and 47 percent saying it's headed in the wrong direction.
Here's a snapshot of who voted and why in Indiana, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 139,000 voters and nonvoters - including 3,938 voters and 765 nonvoters in the state of Indiana - conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.
RACE FOR SENATE
Republican Mike Braun unseated incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly with strong support from white evangelical voters, those in rural areas and those who said a reason for their vote was to express support for President Trump, who visited the state several times to try to flip the seat for the GOP.
Indianapolis truck river Mark Allan, 50, was among Braun's supporters.
"I don't think there's anything wrong with Donnelly, but he's been on both sides of the fence," said Allan. "We need to keep the Senate Republican to support the agenda of Donald Trump."
Donnelly - who rarely mentioned that he's a Democrat - had adopted some of the president's fiery rhetoric, ridiculing socialists and the "radical left" and calling on Congress to fund a border wall with Mexico.
Thirty percent of Indiana voters identified as white evangelical or born-again Christians and among them, 79 percent voted for Braun. A sizeable share of those who identified with other religions and denominations also supported Braun.
Donnelly led among urban voters - 61 percent to 34 percent - while Braun received heavy rural support with 65 percent of the vote. The candidates were closer among suburban and small-town voters, with Braun receiving half of the suburban vote compared to 45 percent for Donnelly, and 53 percent of the small-town vote.
Donnelly received 57 percent of moderate vote and 84 percent of the liberal vote, but the greatest share of voters - 45 percent - identified as conservative, and 86 percent of them supported Braun.
Voters said health care and immigration were the top issues facing the country - 27 percent and 25 percent - while 21 percent said the economy and jobs were the top issue.
Cordell Chaney, who works at a Fort Wayne wire and cable products manufacturer said health care was his biggest concern. The 30-year-old father of four, with a fifth on the way, worries that Republicans will get rid of the Affordable Care Act if they remain in control of Congress.
"It really upsets me," said Chaney, a member of the steelworkers' union who said affordable health care that covers pre-existing conditions is critical. "Decent health insurance should be a right."
STATE OF THE ECONOMY
Indiana voters have a positive view of the nation's economic outlook - 74 percent said it was excellent or good while a quarter said it isn't.
Forty-three-year-old steelworker Randy Graham said he has mixed feelings: He supports President Donald Trump's move to impose tariffs on some foreign steel and aluminum, but not some of the president's other steps, which he considers anti-labor.
"The tariffs have been great, they've helped stabilize the steel market, but he's done other things that have undermined organized labor as well," Graham said.
Janet Pfadt, a 68-year-old retiree from Indianapolis, said she is unhappy with how the president is handling his job, which is one reason she voted for Donnelly, even though he was not her ideal candidate.
"I am very, very, very concerned about the Republican Party and the direction it has taken," said Pfradt, who said she used to be a Republican but now identifies as an independent.
For 34 percent of Indiana voters, President Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their votes. But the majority said he was a factor - with 35 percent of them saying their vote was to support Trump and 31 percent saying they voted to express opposition to the president.
A majority of voters in Indiana had positive views of Trump: 56 percent said they approve of how he is handling his job as president, while 44 percent said they disapprove.
CONTROL OF CONGRESS
Tuesday's elections will determine control of Congress in the final two years of Trump's term, and 70 percent of Indiana voters said which party will hold control was very important as they considered their vote. Another 20 percent said it was somewhat important.
Allan, the Indianapolis truck driver, said he likes how Trump is leading the country, particularly when it comes to immigration and foreign policy.
"We need to keep the Senate Republican to support the agenda of Donald Trump," he said.
STAYING AT HOME
Among registered voters who did not vote in Indiana's midterm election, 71 percent were younger than 45. A wide share of those who did not vote - 84 percent - did not have a college degree. Twenty-four percent of nonvoters were Democrats and 37 percent were 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 3,938 voters and 765 nonvoters in Indiana 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 2.1 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.
For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics
Associated Press National Writer Sharon Cohen contributed from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and reporter Brian Slodysko contributed from Indianapolis.
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