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Exit polls show Trump a major factor in 2018 midterm election voting

Early exit poll results suggest that President Donald Trump was a factor that significantly affected voting for the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections. Nearly two-thirds of those voters said Mr. Trump was a factor. One quarter of those casting a House ballot said they did so in part to support him. Four in 10 said they cast a vote to oppose him. Only one-third said he played no role in their voting.

Only a minority of those voting today approve of Mr. Trump's job performance. The level appears similar to his ratings among the general public overall in recent months. It is also similar to the ratings for former President Obama in the 2010 midterm election, in which Republicans captured majority control from Democrats.

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Voters reported that their No. 1 issue in this election was health care — mentioned by just under half of those surveyed. Health care was mentioned by almost twice as many voters as the next most common issue, immigration.

Voters are feeling better about the state of the economy than they have since before the Great Recession of 2008. More than two-thirds rate the economy as good, compared to 36 percent only two years ago.

However, only 1 in 5 voters selected the economy as the most important issue in the election this year, perhaps limiting the benefit of this issue for the ruling Republican Party.

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The specific issues of trade and taxes do not seem to be helping the GOP's prospects. More voters said that they area where they live had been hurt by Mr. Trump's trade policy than had been helped. On taxes, the number of people who said they had benefited was nearly the as those who were hurt, and nearly half saw no impact.

Despite positive feelings about the economy, overall, voters were pessimistic about the direction of the country. Only 4 in 10 said the country was headed in the right direction, while nearly 6 in 10 viewed the country as off on the wrong track.

Over three quarters of voters think Americans are becoming more politically divided.

About the authors: David R. Jones, Professor of Political Science at Baruch College, City University of New York. Melissa J. Herrmann, President, SSRS.

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