Trump casts big shadow in Pennsylvania midterms

Written by John Seewer/The Associated Press | Nov 7, 2018 2:17 AM

Voters line up to vote at a polling place in Doylestown, Pa., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Toldeo, Ohio) -- A majority of Pennsylvania voters said President Donald Trump influenced their decisions while casting ballots in the midterm election and many wanted to send a message to him, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.

As voters cast ballots for governor, U.S. Senate and members of Congress in Tuesday's elections, AP VoteCast found that also weighing heavily on the minds of voters was which party will have control of Congress during the final two years of Trump's first term in office.

Here's a snapshot of who voted and why in Pennsylvania, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 139,000 voters and nonvoters -- including 3,949 voters and 812 nonvoters in the state of Pennsylvania -- conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.


While one-third of Pennsylvania voters said Trump didn't influence their decision, others said they were trying to send a message to the president.

About 4 in 10 cast their ballots to express opposition to the president while 3 in 10 said they were casting ballots to express support for Trump.

Democratic voter Jeremy Kastrup, of Falls Township, Pennsylvania, said the Trump administration has been "just straight up sloppy" in running the country.

Overall, a little over half had negative views of how Trump is handling his job as president.

Republican Rosanne Palmieri, of Falls Township, Pennsylvania, voted for Trump in 2016 and gives him mixed reviews.

"Sometimes I think that he is his worst enemy," she said.


Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., greets supporters after a general election campaign event with Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Friday, July 13, 2018, in Philadelphia. Casey is seeking a third term in November's election and is being challenged by Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta of northeastern Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)



In the U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey won a third term by doing well enough among white voters and doing even better with black and Hispanic voters.

Casey had an apparent advantage over Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta among all white voters. Whites with a college education preferred Casey, and whites without a college degree slightly favored the Republican.

Voters under 45 favored Casey while those ages 45 and older slightly leaned toward Casey.

Casey also was a frequent critic of Trump while Barletta has been among the president's most reliable defenders.


Democratic incumbent Tom Wolf prevailed over Republican Scott Wagner in the race for governor with a sizable advantage among voters under 45. Voters ages 45 and older also favored Wolf by a large margin.

Black voters and Hispanic voters also went with Wolf.

White voters overall were more evenly divided between the two candidates. Whites without a college degree were split between the two, but white college graduates gave an edge to Wolf.

Tom Wolf acceptance speech.jpg

Tom Wolf delivers a brief speech at his election night event after declaring victory. (Katie Meyer/WITF)


Tuesday's elections determined control of Congress during the next two years, and nearly all Pennsylvania voters said that was on their minds as they considered their vote. Seven in 10 said it was a very important factor.

Pennsylvania elected a state record four women to the U.S. House as Democrats picked up three seats. They came into the midterm election with high expectations after a state Supreme Court decision forced a redraw of the congressional district boundaries.

Women across the country voted considerably more in favor of their congressional Democratic candidate: About 6 in 10 voted for the Democrat, compared with about 4 in 10 voting for the Republican. Men were more narrowly divided in their vote.

Voters in Pennsylvania under age 45 tilted heavily toward the Democrats while those 45 and older were more closely divided between the GOP and Democratic candidates.


More voters in Pennsylvania said health care was the most important issue facing the nation in this year's midterm elections followed by immigration and the economy.


Voters in Pennsylvania have a positive outlook on the nation's economy, with two-thirds saying it's in good shape. But they took a different turn when it comes to the direction of the nation. Just over half think the country is on the wrong track.

The question in Pennsylvania was who will benefit from a healthy economy -- the Democratic incumbents in the Senate and governor's race or Republicans who credit Trump for the recovery.

During his run for governor, Republican challenger Scott Wagner has credited Trump with invigorating the economy, but said that too many state regulations and taxes were holding back Pennsylvania's fortunes.


In Pennsylvania, most of the registered voters who chose not to vote in the midterm election were younger than 45. A wide share of those who did not vote -- three-fourths -- did not have a college degree. Just about the same number of Democrats and Republicans stayed home.


*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 3,949 voters and 812 nonvoters in Pennsylvania 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 at*

Associated Press writer Maryclaire Dale in Falls Township, Pennsylvania, contributed to this report.

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