VoteCast: Trump, control of Congress factors for Ohio voters

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TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Most voters casting midterm election ballots in Ohio say President Donald Trump played a role in how they voted as did which party will control Congress, 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 about half of Ohio voters said the country is headed in the wrong direction while almost as many think the country is on the right track.

Here's a snapshot of who voted and why in Ohio, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 139,000 voters and nonvoters - including 3,842 voters and 687 nonvoters in the state of Ohio - conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

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TRUMP FACTOR

Two-thirds of Ohio voters said Trump was a factor they considered while casting their vote while one-third said the president didn't play a role in their decision.

Trump made four trips to Ohio since the beginning of August to build enthusiasm for the state's Republican candidates including an election-eve rally in Cleveland. In the Ohio governor's race, both Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine put their final bets on Trump, reminding voters how they either opposed or shared the president's positions.

DeWine won in what had been expected to be a much closer race.

Daniel Donhowe, a 56-year-old engineer who voted in Dublin, a Columbus suburb, said he went with a straight slate of Democrats and the president was a big reason why. "I know they represent my core values. And I also know that they'll fight Trump, and I think he's taken us 100 percent in the wrong direction," he said.

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TOP ISSUE: HEALTH CARE

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

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STATE OF THE ECONOMY

Ohio's voters had a rosy outlook on the nation's economy, with two-thirds saying it's in good shape. Republicans were counting on positive feelings about the economy and employment numbers to give them an edge, but Democrats contend the results have been uneven and that many areas are being left behind.

"I ended up voting for a lot of Republicans because I think they've got the best plan. And the economy is going extremely well now, and I think that's due to Republican leadership," said Gary Smith, a registered Republican who voted in Dublin.

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CONTROL OF CONGRESS

Tuesday's elections determined control of Congress in the final two years of Trump's first term in office. A large share of the state's voters said that was an important factor when they considered their vote, with nearly two-thirds saying it was very important. In Ohio, there was a U.S. Senate seat at stake, but only two competitive U.S. House races. Despite a few spirited Democratic candidates who were hoping for a "blue wave," there ended up being no change in the Republicans 12-4 advantage.

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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 3,842 voters and 687 nonvoters in Ohio 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 .

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Associated Press writer Angie Wang in Dublin, Ohio, contributed to this report.

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For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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