WASHINGTON, D.C. – Voters in Florida cast their ballots in the Democratic primary during a pandemic that has stunted travel, closed schools, forced millions of workers to stay home and canceled campaign rallies.
Many voters on Tuesday expressed concerns that they or their family members will be infected with the new coronavirus. At the same time, voters 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.
About 4 in 10 said they are very concerned that they or a relative will get the virus, according to a wide-ranging AP VoteCast survey of the Democratic primary electorate in Florida. Roughly as many were somewhat concerned, while just 2 in 10 expressed little to no concern.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the winner of the Florida primary.
Here’s a snapshot of Democratic voters in Florida — who they are and what matters to them — based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, a survey of 3,412 voters, conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.
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 close to half of voters.
There is majority support for a government-run health care system for all Americans, with about three-quarters of voters saying they are in favor. Roughly a quarter 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. Roughly 9 in 10 are in favor.
About two-thirds of voters are in favor of either proposal, while about 2 in 10 say they favor a public option but oppose a single-payer system.
DO THEY WANT A BIG CHANGE?
Voters in Florida’s Democratic primary were closely divided over whether they wanted a candidate who would bring fundamental change to Washington or one who would restore the political system to how it was before Donald Trump was elected in 2016.
But a majority of voters said they preferred a candidate who will pursue practical, centrist policies to one pursuing bold liberal policies.
DIVIDED BY RACE
Among white voters, Biden had an edge over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Black voters went for Biden over Sanders by a significant margin, with about 7 in 10 voters supporting the former vice president.
Latino voters also were more likely to support Biden than Sanders.
DIVIDED BY AGE
Sanders, 78, continued to show strength among young voters, especially those under 30. More than half of voters under 30 supported him.
Older voters were more likely to support Biden than Sanders.
LARGELY UNIFIED AGAINST TRUMP
A wide majority say they would vote for Biden or Sanders against Trump in the general election. Still, 16% say they would vote for Biden but not for Sanders, while 6% say they would vote for Sanders but not Biden.
SOME SKEPTICISM TOWARD THE PARTY
Voters are skeptical that the Democratic Party’s nomination process is fair. Just about a third say they are very confident that the process for selecting a presidential nominee is fair. Roughly 2 in 10 have little to no confidence, while about 4 in 10 say they are somewhat confident.
Meanwhile, only about 4 in 10 voters are very confident that the Democratic Party’s leadership represents their values; roughly half are somewhat confident. About 1 in 10 are not confident.
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 2 in 10 called the economy the top issue. But a significant majority described the economic system in this country as unfair. That includes about a third who said it’s very unfair.
Small shares of voters considered race relations, immigration, gun policy or abortion most important.
AP VoteCast is a survey of the American electorate conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for The Associated Press and Fox News. The survey of 3,412 voters in Florida was conducted for seven days, concluding as polls closed. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. The survey combines a random sample of registered voters drawn from the state voter file and self-identified registered voters selected from nonprobability online panels. The margin of sampling error for voters is estimated to be plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
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