Among Michigan voters casting ballots for governor, U.S. senator
and members of Congress, AP VoteCast found that about six in 10
believed the country is heading in the wrong direction, while
nearly four in 10 said things are on the right track.
Here's a snapshot of who voted and why in Michigan, based on
preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide
survey of about 138,000 voters and nonvoters _ including 3,942
voters and 649 nonvoters in the state of Michigan _ conducted
for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.
RACE FOR GOVERNOR
Democrat Gretchen Whitmer's victory
in the race for governor was propelled by voters under age 45,
with whom she had a sizable advantage over Republican Bill
Schuette. Older voters also appeared to favor Whitmer, but by a
Whitmer also prevailed among black voters, while whites were
about evenly divided. She had a modest advantage among white
college graduates and battled Schuette to a draw among whites
without a college degree.
Tyler Bevier, 26, a Traverse City Democrat who works in a local
government planning office, said Michigan sorely needs to pour
money into better roads, wastewater treatment,
telecommunications, and other infrastructure. ``Fix the damn
roads'' was one of Whitmer's campaign slogans.
``I think Gretchen Whitmer has a more solid plan for how to fund
those improvements, and she has the experience to put them into
action,'' Bevier said.
Erin Miller, 49, a marketing and communications specialist who
lives near Grand Rapids, said she favored Schuette's support of
lower taxes and plans to make state government less wasteful.
RACE FOR SENATE
In the U.S. Senate race, three-term Democrat Debbie Stabenow
was neck-and-neck with Republican John James among white voters,
including those with and without a college degree.
Stabenow had a sizable advantage among blacks. Voters under age
45 preferred Stabenow, who also had a small lead among those 45
``She's pragmatic and works across the aisle,'' said Kristin
Schrader, 51, a marketing and communications officer from
Superior Township in Washtenaw County.
Schrader praised Stabenow, a former chairwoman of the Senate
Agriculture Committee and now its ranking minority member, for
getting farm legislation enacted when Congress was gridlocked on
most issues. ``I'm just impressed with the way she gets things
Tina Newby, 43, an information technology specialist from
Westland, supported James, praising his military background and
success in business. Stabenow has little to show for her time in
Washington, Newby said: ``What has she done for Michigan?''
TOP ISSUE: HEALTH CARE
Health care was at the forefront of voters' minds, with about
three in 10 labeling it the top issue facing the nation.
``People don't make job changes or move or start new businesses
because they're scared of losing their health care,'' Schrader
said. ``It's this big, wet blanket that keeps America and the
economy from being what it could be.''
About one-fifth of Michigan voters considered the economy and
jobs the most important issue.
``If we have jobs, we can have immigrants because there will be
work for them to do,'' Newby said. ``If we have jobs, there will
be money for health care. If we don't have the jobs, everything
Nearly as many voters said immigration was the top issue, while
smaller numbers chose gun policy and the environment.
STATE OF THE ECONOMY
Michigan voters were mostly upbeat about the U.S. economy, with
about two-thirds saying it's in good shape, while about
one-third described it as bad.
``My husband has gotten pay raises, promotions, in the last
couple of years,'' said Jackie Malega, 34, a stay-at-home mom in
Westland. ``I don't see as many of my friends struggling as they
were a few years ago. Everywhere I go, I see hiring signs.''
Shayne Daley, 51, an executive recruiter from Detroit, said the
economic expansion and job growth are holdovers from the Obama
administration that probably won't last.
``Every policy that Trump pushes is threatening that economic
growth,'' he said.
Nearly six in 10 Michigan voters said their feelings about Trump
influenced their ballot choices. Nearly four in 10 said a reason
for their vote was to show opposition to the president, while
about two in 10 said they wanted to send a message of support.
About four in 10 said the president wasn't a factor.
But even some who said Trump didn't play a role in deciding for
whom they'd vote said he helped motivate them to participate.
``Overall, I would have voted for the same candidates regardless
of the Trump effect,'' Bevier said. ``But it lit the fire of
desire a bit more to go out and vote.''
Malega said she was happy to give Trump a boost.
``I like that he's not a traditional politician,'' she said. ``I
like that he's outspoken. I don't always agree 100 percent with
what he has to say but for the most part I do.''
CONTROL OF CONGRESS
Tuesday's elections will determine control of Congress in the
final two years of Trump's first term in office, and about six
in 10 Michigan voters said which party will hold control was
very important as they considered their vote. Roughly
one-quarter said it was somewhat important.
``The Republicans in Congress have abdicated their
constitutional responsibility to provide checks and balances,''
Daley said. ``They've allowed Trump to do whatever he likes.
Miller said her support of James wasn't based on a desire to
bolster Trump's backing in the Senate. But she praised the
president's handling of the economy and willingness to take on
difficult issues such as trade, where previously ``we've sort of
been kicking the can down the road.''
STAYING AT HOME
In Michigan, nearly seven in 10 registered voters who chose not
to vote in the midterm election were younger than 45. A wide
share of those who did not vote—more than eight in 10—did not
have a college degree. About as many nonvoters were Democrats as
Republicans—roughly three in 10.
EDITOR’S NOTE: 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
3,942 voters and 649 nonvoters in Michigan 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 2.0 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