Indiana voters give Trump another ally in Congress

By The Associated Press

CHICAGO — President Trump figured large in Indiana's midterm election, as voters gave the president another ally in Congress by electing political upstart and multimillionaire businessman Republican Mike Braun to the Senate. Even so, voters were divided over the state of the nation, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate.

AP VoteCast found that Indiana voters were split on whether the country is on the right track, with just about half saying the country is on the right track, with just under half saying it's headed in the wrong direction.

Here's a snapshot of who voted and why in Indiana, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, an innovative nationwide survey of about 139,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,938 voters and 765 nonvoters in the state of Indiana — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.



Republican Mike Braun unseated incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly with strong support from white evangelical voters, those in rural areas and those who said a reason for their vote was to express support for President Trump.

Trump visited the Hoosier state several times in an attempt to flip the seat for the GOP.

Indianapolis truck river Mark Allan, 50, was among Braun's supporters.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with Donnelly, but he's been on both sides of the fence," said Allan. "We need to keep the Senate Republican to support the agenda of Donald Trump."

Donnelly — who rarely mentioned that he's a Democrat — had adopted some of the president's fiery rhetoric, ridiculing socialists and the "radical left" and calling on Congress to fund a border wall with Mexico. He said he agreed with Trump on some issues but promised he wouldn't be a rubber stamp.

Donnelly appeared to lead Braun among voters under 45.



Voters considered several issues to be important to their vote in the midterm election, including health care, which almost 3 in 10 named as the most important issue facing the nation. One-fourth said immigration was most important, while another one-fifth said it was the economy.

Cordell Chaney, who works at a Fort Wayne wire and cable products manufacturer said health care was his biggest concern. The 30-year-old father of four, with a fifth on the way, worries that Republicans will get rid of the Affordable Care Act if they remain in control of Congress.

"It really upsets me," said Chaney, a member of the steelworkers' union who said affordable health care that covers pre-existing conditions is critical. "Decent health insurance should be a right."



Indiana voters have a positive view of the nation's economic outlook — three-fourths said the nation's economy is good while a quarter said it isn't.

Forty-three-year-old steelworker Randy Graham said he has mixed feelings: He supports President Donald Trump's move to impose tariffs on some foreign steel and aluminum, but not some of the president's other steps, which he considers anti-labor.

"The tariffs have been great, they've helped stabilize the steel market, but he's done other things that have undermined organized labor as well," Graham said.



Janet Pfadt, a 68-year-old retiree from Indianapolis, said she is unhappy with how the president is handling his job, which is one reason she voted for Donnelly, even though he was not her ideal candidate.

"I am very, very, very concerned about the Republican Party and the direction it has taken," said Pfradt, who said she used to be a Republican but now identifies as an independent."

For one-third of Indiana voters, President Trump was not a factor they considered while casting their votes. But the majority said he was a factor — with about one-third of them saying their vote was to support Trump and another 3 in 10 saying they voted to express opposition to the president.

A majority of voters in Indiana had positive views of Trump: More than half said they approve of how he is handling his job as president, while more than 4 in 10 said they disapprove of Trump.



Tuesday's elections will determine control of Congress in the final two years of Trump's term, and about 7 in 10 Indiana voters said which party will hold control was very important as they considered their vote. Another one-fifth said it was somewhat important.

Allan, the Indianapolis truck driver, said he likes how Trump is leading the country, particularly when it comes to immigration and foreign policy.

"We need to keep the Senate Republican to support the agenda of Donald Trump," he said.



In Indiana, 7 in 10 registered voters who chose not to vote in the midterm election were younger than 45. A wide share of those who did not vote — more than 8 in 10 — did not have a college degree. About one quarter of nonvoters were Democrats and almost 4 in 10 were Republicans.

More on