Iowans unhappy with country’s direction as they headed to polls, election data reveals

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Voters in Iowa 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, but 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 44% of Iowa voters said the U.S. is on the right track and 55% 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 2,401 voters and 299 nonvoters in Iowa — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

TRUMP VS BIDEN

In the race for president, Trump was about tied with Biden among voters under 45. Older voters were more likely to favor Trump over Biden.

College-educated voters modestly preferred Biden but voters without a college degree were more likely to back Trump over Biden.

Voters in cities were more likely to support Biden. Voters in small towns and rural areas were more likely to favor Trump over Biden. Suburban voters were divided between Biden and Trump.

RACE FOR SENATE

In the race for U.S. Senate, Joni Ernst was about even with Theresa Greenfield among voters under 45 but Ernst was preferred over Greenfield among older voters.

Ernst was preferred over Greenfield among voters without a college degree while Ernst was neck and neck with Greenfield among college-educated voters.

Ernst was preferred over Greenfield among voters in small towns and rural areas. Voters in cities were more likely to support Greenfield over Ernst. Suburban voters were split between Ernst and Greenfield.

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 31% said it’s somewhat under control.

Fifty 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 Iowa. Thirty-seven percent said it is the most important issue facing the country today.

Voters also considered the economy a major issue, with 29% saying it ranked at the top.

Ten percent named health care, 5% named racism and 5% named abortion.

NATIONAL ECONOMY

Voters were closely divided in their assessments of the nation’s economy. Overall, 51% described economic conditions in the U.S. as excellent or good, and 49% called them not so good or poor.

STAYING AT HOME

Among registered voters who chose not to cast a ballot in Iowa, 21% said that was because they don’t like the candidates, 20% said their vote doesn’t matter and 18% said they are concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus.

In Iowa, 75% of nonvoters were younger than 45 and 85% did not have a college degree.

AP created this story 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 2,401 voters in Iowa 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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