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A majority of voters casting midterm election ballots in Michigan said the country is headed in the wrong direction, 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 38 percent of Michigan voters said the country is on the right track, compared with 61 percent who said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

The national VoteCast survey involved about 135,000 voters and nonvoters – including 3,872 voters and 644 nonvoters in the state of Michigan – conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Nationally, both parties’ closing messages appeared to have animated their respective bases, according to VoteCast, with health care and immigration each described as the most important issues in the election by about 25 percent of voters.

Of those who listed health care as the most important issue facing the nation, about 3 in 4 voted for the Democratic candidate. About the same percentage who described immigration as the most important issue cast ballots for the Republican.

Opposition to Trump proved to be more a motivating factor for Democrats nationwide than support for the president was a factor for Republicans. Still, Republican voters tended to be overwhelmingly supportive of the president.

More voters disapproved of Trump’s job performance than approved – a finding that is largely consistent with recent polling.

Voters scored Trump positively on the economy and for standing up “for what he believes in.” But the president received negative marks from voters on temperament and trustworthiness.

Still, about one-third of voters said Trump was not a factor in their votes.

Here’s a snapshot of who voted and why in Michigan, based on preliminary results from VoteCast:

Health care: Health care was at the forefront of Michigan voters’ minds: 29 percent named it as the most important issue facing the nation in this year’s midterm elections. Others considered the economy (20 percent), immigration (18 percent), gun policy (8 percent) and the environment (7 percent) to be the top issue.

State of the economy: Michigan voters have a positive view of the nation’s current economic outlook – 67 percent said the nation’s economy is good, compared with 32 percent who said it’s not good.

Trump factor: For 40 percent of Michigan voters, President Donald Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their vote. By comparison, 59 percent said Trump was a reason for their vote. Nationally, Trump was a dominant force as attitudes toward the polarizing leader influenced the decisions of more than 6 in 10 voters. Nearly 40 percent of voters nationwide cast their ballots to express opposition to the president, according to VoteCast.

Control of Congress: Tuesday’s elections will determine control of Congress in the final two years of Trump’s first term in office, and 61 percent of Michigan voters said which party will hold control was very important as they considered their vote. Another 25 percent said it was somewhat important.

Nationally, according to VoteCast, women voted considerably more in favor of their congressional Democratic candidate: About 6 in 10 voted for the Democrat, compared with 4 in 10 for the Republican. Men, by contrast, were more divided in their vote.

Urbanites voted almost 2 to 1 in favor of Democrats, and small-town and rural voters cast votes for the Republican by a smaller margin.

In suburban areas where key House races will be decided, voters nationwide skewed significantly toward Democrats by a nearly 10-point margin.

Non-white voters cast ballots for Democrats by a roughly 3-to-1 margin.

VoteCast debuted Tuesday, replacing the in-person exit poll as a source of detailed information about the American electorate. Developed with NORC at the University of Chicago, it combines a random sample survey of registered voters and a massive poll conducted via opt-in online panels. The resulting research has the accuracy of random sampling and the depth provided by an online poll that interviews tens of thousands.

VoteCast results cannot be reliably compared to the results of previous exit polls, as the two surveys use different methodologies to poll the electorate. Differences between the two may be the result of differences in survey methods, rather than real changes in opinions or makeup of the electorate over time.

HOW VOTECAST WAS CONDUCTED

--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 3,872 voters and 644 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 2.1 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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