Missouri voters say health care is top issue

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WASHINGTON – Voters in Missouri’s Democratic primary ranked health care as the most important issue facing the country, well above climate change, the economy, race relations, foreign policy and many other social issues.

Close to half named health care, an issue that has intensely divided the field of Democratic candidates. Roughly 2 in 10 had climate change on their minds, according to a wide-ranging AP VoteCast survey of the Democratic primary electorate in Missouri.

The Associated Press declared Joe Biden the winner just after the polls closed in Missouri, basing the call on data from VoteCast.

Here’s a snapshot of Democratic voters in Missouri – who they are and how they voted – based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, a survey of 1,858 voters, conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

DO THEY WANT A BIG CHANGE ?

Voters in Missouri’s Democratic primary were somewhat more likely to say they wanted a candidate who would bring fundamental change to Washington over one who would restore the political system to how it was before Donald Trump was elected in 2016.

WHAT ELSE VOTERS WANT

About 9 in 10 said it was very important that a nominee can beat Trump. About 8 in 10 considered it highly important that the candidate is a strong leader and cares about people like them.

Roughly 7 in 10 said a nominee should have “the right experience.”

Having the best policy ideas and being willing to work across the aisle was considered very significant for a Democratic nominee by about 6 in 10 voters.

DIVIDED BY RACE

Among white voters in Missouri, Biden had an advantage over Bernie Sanders.

That lead widened among black voters. About three-quarters of black voters supported the former vice president over the Vermont senator.

DIVIDED BY AGE

Sanders continued to show strength among young voters under 30. About 70% supported the 78-year-old senator.

Older voters were more likely to support Biden than Sanders by a roughly three to one margin.

LARGELY UNIFIED AGAINST TRUMP

A wide majority say they will definitely vote for the Democratic candidate against Trump in the general election. Still, nearly 2 in 10 say their decision will depend on which Democrat is on the ballot in November.

PRIMARY PROCESS SKEPTICISM

Voters are generally confident that the Democratic Party’s nomination process is fair. Still, just about a quarter say they are very confident that the process for selecting a presidential nominee is fair. Roughly 3 in 10 have little to no confidence, while about 4 in 10 say they are somewhat confident.

DEBATING HEALTH CARE

The campaign has featured a contentious debate among candidates over the best way to tackle health care, an issue seen as the most important facing the country by roughly half of voters.

There is majority support for a government-run health care system for all Americans, with about two-thirds of voters saying they are in favor. Roughly 3 in 10 are opposed.

But support for a public option, where every American could buy into a government-run insurance plan if they wanted to, is even higher. Close to 9 in 10 are in favor.

About 6 in 10 voters are in favor of either proposal, while roughly a quarter say they favor a public option but oppose a single-payer system.

CLIMATE CHANGE, THE ECONOMY AND OTHER ISSUES

Roughly 2 in 10 voters said climate change is the most important issue facing the nation. A wide majority – about three-quarters – expressed support for a tax on the use of carbon-based fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas .

About 1 in 10 called the economy the top issue. A significant majority described the economic system in this country as unfair. That includes about 4 in 10 who said it’s very unfair.

Small shares of voters considered race relations, immigration, gun policy or abortion most important.

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