AP VoteCast: Arizona primary marked by coronavirus concerns

WASHINGTON — Voters in Arizona cast their ballots in Tuesday’s Democratic primary during a pandemic that has stunted travel, closed schools, forced millions of workers to stay home and canceled campaign rallies.

Many voters 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 a third 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 Arizona. About 4 in 10 were somewhat concerned, while just a quarter expressed little to no concern.

Here’s a snapshot of Democratic voters in Arizona — who they are and how they voted — based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, a survey of 1,991 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 nearly half of voters.

There is majority support for a government-run health care system for all Americans, with about 8 in 10 voters saying they are in favor. Roughly 2 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. About 9 in 10 are in favor.

About three-quarters 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?

Somewhat more voters in Arizona’s Democratic primary say they want 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.

But a clear majority of voters, about 56%, said they preferred a candidate who will pursue practical, centrist policies to one pursuing bold liberal policies.

DIVIDED BY RACE

Among white voters, former Vice President Joe Biden had an edge over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, about 45% to 32%.

Latino voters were divided in their support between Sanders and Biden.

DIVIDED BY AGE

Sanders continued to show strength among young voters, especially those under 30. Seven in 10 voters under 30 supported the 78-year-old senator.

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, 8% say they would vote for Biden but not for Sanders, while about as many say they would vote for Sanders but not Biden.

SKEPTICISM TOWARD THE PARTY

Voters are somewhat skeptical that the Democratic Party’s nomination process is fair. 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 more than 4 in 10 say they are somewhat confident.

Meanwhile, only about a third of voters are very confident that the Democratic Party’s leadership represents their values; roughly half are somewhat confident. About 2 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 8 in 10 — expressed support for a tax on the use of carbon-based fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas.

Just about 1 in 10 called the economy the top issue. But 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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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 1,991 voters in Arizona was conducted for seven days, concluding as polls closed. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. The survey is based on interviews with a random sample of registered voters drawn from the state voter file. The margin of sampling error for voters is estimated to be plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

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Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”

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