Immigration, health care top issues for Kansas voters

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CHICAGO (AP) — Immigration and health care were the most important issues for Kansas voters casting midterm election ballots, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.

As voters cast ballots for governor and members of Congress in Tuesday's elections, AP VoteCast found that nearly half of Kansas voters said the country is on the right track, while half said the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Here's a snapshot of who voted and why in Kansas, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 135,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,786 voters and 755 nonvoters in the state of Kansas — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

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TOP ISSUES

About a quarter of Kansas voters considered health care to be the most important issue influencing their vote while another quarter named immigration as the top issue.

Margaret Masilionis, an 84-year-old state worker and self-described "proud Democrat," said President Donald Trump's rhetoric on immigration is wrong.

"We all came from immigrants, Masilionis said. "I don't understand how we can exclude people and go to bed at night feeling that we're fair Americans."

But Keith Noe, a 79-year-old semi-retired farmer who lives outside the small town of Lecompton, said he wanted to see the border wall built, adding that his views were shaped by living near the Mexican border in California in the 1990s.

"The farmers down there had to shut down their dairies down there because of illegal aliens coming through," Noe said. "They cannot raise any crops where there's good fields to raise them because of people tramping through. There was a constant flow even then."

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STATE OF THE ECONOMY

Voters had a positive view of the nation's economy — 6 in 10 said the nation's economy is good, compared with 3 in 10 who said it's not good.

The economy is on an upswing, said Angie Turnbow, a 43-year-old owner of a small Topeka business that makes uniforms and other items for sports teams.

"I probably am a little bit more conservative, and I definitely think there is something to be said for encouraging growth in small businesses, businesses in general, American business," she said.

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TRUMP FACTOR

Nearly half of Kansas voters said Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their vote while the other half said Trump was a reason for their vote.

Trump is doing a "terrible job" said James Jenkins, a 48-year-old truck driver from Topeka and a registered Democrat.

"I think he's wrong," Jenkins said.

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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 3,786 voters and 755 nonvoters in Kansas 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 2.0 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 John Hanna contributed to this story.