Most say voting vital despite dour US outlook: AP-NORC poll

Oct 16, 2022, 9:12 AM | Updated: Oct 18, 2022, 2:52 pm
FILE - A person waits in line to vote in the Georgia's primary election on May 24, 2022, in Atlanta...

FILE - A person waits in line to vote in the Georgia's primary election on May 24, 2022, in Atlanta. A new poll shows 71% of voters think the future of the country is at stake when they vote in November's midterm elections. That's according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

              Most registered voters of either major U.S. political party see the 2022 midterm election as having a significant impact on the country, according to an AP-NORC poll. (AP Digital Embed)
            
              FILE - Cornelius Whiting fills out his ballot at an early voting location in Alexandria, Va., Sept. 26, 2022. A new poll shows 71% of voters think the future of the country is at stake when they vote in November's midterm elections. That's according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
            
              FILE - A person waits in line to vote in the Georgia's primary election on May 24, 2022, in Atlanta. A new poll shows 71% of voters think the future of the country is at stake when they vote in November's midterm elections. That's according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — From his home in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, Graeme Dean says there’s plenty that’s disheartening about the state of the country and politics these days. At the center of one of this year’s most competitive U.S. Senate races, he’s on the receiving end of a constant barrage of vitriolic advertising that makes it easy to focus on what’s going wrong.

But the 40-year-old English teacher has no intention of disengaging from the democratic process. In fact, he believes that the first national election since the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is “more significant” than in years past.

“This could very well sway the country in one direction or another,” the Democratic-leaning independent said.

Dean is hardly alone in feeling the weight of this election. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center of Public Affairs Research finds 71% of registered voters think the very future of the U.S. is at stake when they vote this year. That’s true of voters who prefer Republicans win majorities in Congress, and those who want to see Democrats remain in control, though likely for different reasons.

While about two-thirds of voters say they are pessimistic about politics, overwhelming majorities across party lines — about 8 in 10 — say casting their ballot this year is extremely or very important.

The findings demonstrate how this year’s midterms are playing out in a unique environment, with voters both exhausted by the political process and determined to participate in shaping it. That could result in high turnout for a midterm election.

In the politically divided state of Michigan, for instance, over 150,000 voters have already cast absentee ballots. A total of 1.6 million people have requested absentee ballots so far, surpassing the 1.16 million who chose the option in the 2018 midterm election.

In follow-up interviews, poll respondents reported distinct concerns about the country’s direction despite agreement that things are not working.

Rick Moore, a 67-year-old writer and musician in Las Vegas, said he’s dissatisfied with President Joe Biden, and “not just because I’m a Republican.” Moore called him “more of a puppet” than any other president in his lifetime.

“It’s important to me that Republicans are in control of as much as possible because we’re not going to get rid of the Democratic president anytime soon,” Moore said.

In general, Moore said, he doesn’t like the way Democratic politicians run their states, including Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, adding that Democrats are “using the word democracy to make all of us do what they want.”

“I would just like to see my voice more represented,” he said.

Since the last midterm elections, voters have grown more negative about the country and people’s rights: 70% say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., up from 58% in October 2018.

Republicans have become enormously dissatisfied with a Democrat in the White House. While Democrats have become less negative since Donald Trump left office, they remain largely sour on the way things are going.

Fifty-eight percent of voters also say they are dissatisfied with the state of individual rights and freedoms in the U.S., up from 42% in 2018. About two-thirds of Republicans are now dissatisfied, after about half said they were satisfied when Trump was in office. Among Democrats, views have stayed largely the same, with about half dissatisfied.

Shawn Hartlage, 41, doesn’t think her views as a Christian are well represented, lamenting that she’d love to vote “for someone that really stood for what you believe,” but that it’s very important to her to vote anyway.

The Republican stay-at-home mother of two in Washington Township, Ohio, said the direction of the country is “devastating,” noting both inflation and a decline in moral values.

“I’m scared for my children’s future,” Hartlage said. “You always want to leave things better for them than what you had, but it’s definitely not moving in that direction.”

Teanne Townsend of Redford, Michigan, agrees that things are moving backward. But the 28-year-old called out abortion, health care and police brutality as especially concerning areas in which rights are being threatened.

“We have minimum progression in the right direction for a lot of areas, especially for people of minority (groups). Their rights are not the same as those of other races and cultures,” the Democrat, who is African American, said.

A children’s health and mental health specialist, Townsend said she’s voting for her constitutional right to an abortion this year. If passed, the state’s ballot initiative would guarantee abortion rights in the Michigan Constitution.

“I feel like it’s just a lot that’s at stake,” Townsend said, adding that she’s both “optimistic and nervous” about the outcome but that it’s “the right thing” for people to be able to vote on it.

The poll showed majorities of voters overall say the outcome of the midterms will have a significant impact on abortion policy, with Democratic voters more likely than Republican voters to say so. Most voters across party lines say the outcome will have a lot of impact on the economy.

More voters say they trust the Republican Party to handle the economy (39% vs. 29%), as well as crime (38% vs. 23%). Republicans also have a slight advantage on immigration (38% vs. 33%). The Democratic Party is seen as better able to handle abortion policy (45% vs. 22%), health care (42% vs. 25%) and voting laws (39% vs. 29%).

Despite the uncertainty in the outcome, Dean in Pennsylvania has faith in the American system to work for the will of the people.

“I think it’s important that our representatives represent what the majority of people want,” Dean said. “That’s what we claim we do in this country and it feels like it is what should happen. And I am hopeful.”

___

The poll of 961 registered voters was conducted Oct. 6-10 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

___

Follow the AP’s coverage of the midterm elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Hess to buy $750 million in carbon credits from Guyana

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — U.S.-owned Hess Corporation, a consortium partner in Guyana’s offshore oil sector, has agreed to buy $750 million worth of carbon credits from the South American nation in the next decade as it works to ensure Guyana’s almost intact Amazonian rainforests remain standing for decades to come, officials said Saturday. Guyanese government […]
1 day ago
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee answers a question while taking part in a panel discussion during a Republi...
Associated Press

Tennessee roads plan mulls toll lanes, electric car fee hike

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is considering allowing express toll lanes on highways and tripling a fee for electric car owners as he targets his first big push after winning reelection — paying for tens of billions of dollars in roadway projects. The Republican is adamant about what he won’t do: Raise […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

UK arrests wealthy Russian as police target Putin enablers

LONDON (AP) — British authorities have arrested a wealthy Russian businessman on suspicion of money laundering, amid efforts to disrupt potential criminal activity by oligarchs and others linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The National Crime Agency said more than 50 officers from a specialized unit raided the suspect’s multi-million-pound home in London on Thursday, […]
1 day ago
Voters wait in line to make corrections to their ballots for the midterm elections at City Hall in ...
Associated Press

Non-religious voters wield clout, tilt heavily Democratic

When members of the small Pennsylvania chapter of Secular Democrats of America log on for their monthly meetings, they’re not there for a virtual happy hour. “We don’t sit around at our meetings patting ourselves on the back for not believing in God together,” said David Brown, a founder from the Philadelphia suburb of Ardmore. […]
1 day ago
Crew members train for the Hoki Mai challenge, a voyage that covers almost 500 kilometers, or about...
Associated Press

Polynesian pride: Three-day canoe voyage in mid-Pacific

RAPA NUI, Chile (AP) — The causes are worthy, the course is daunting – almost 500 kilometers (about 300 miles) across a stretch of the Pacific Ocean in a large canoe. It’s the Hoki Mai Challenge, which started Saturday in Rapa Nui, a territory in the Pacific that is part of Chile and is better […]
1 day ago
FILE - Nick Fuentes, right-wing podcaster, speaks at a pro-Trump march, Nov. 14, 2020, in Washingto...
Associated Press

Antisemitic celebrities stoke fears of normalizing hate

A surge of anti-Jewish vitriol, spread by a world-famous rapper, an NBA star and other prominent people, is stoking fears that public figures are normalizing hate and ramping up the risk of violence in a country already experiencing a sharp increase in antisemitism. Leaders of the Jewish community in the U.S. and extremism experts have […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Most say voting vital despite dour US outlook: AP-NORC poll