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AP VoteCast: A look at voters in Florida, Illinois and Arizona

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press surveyed voters in the three states that held Democratic presidential contests on Tuesday. Here’s a snapshot of the voters in Arizona, Florida and Illinois — who they are and what matters to them — based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast. Conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago, AP VoteCast surveys took place over seven days, concluding as polls closed.

ARIZONA

On a good night for Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders was able to maintain support from some of his base in Arizona. About half of Democratic primary voters there were liberal, and roughly half of them supported the Vermont senator. He enjoyed support from majorities of voters under 45.

But Latino voters — a group that makes up about 30% of Democratic primary voters in Arizona and has leaned toward Sanders in previous contests — were about evenly split between him and Biden.

Biden appeared to lead Sanders among older voters, both men and women, college graduates and suburban voters, as well as small town and rural voters. He was called the winner by The Associated Press.

A wide share of voters in Arizona cast their ballots before Election Day. AP VoteCast surveys are designed to capture voters’ views regardless of when or how they voted, accounting for the many voters in Arizona, as well as Florida, who voted early. Here’s a snapshot of voters’ priorities and concerns as they cast their ballots:

About a third of voters say they are members of a gun-owning household in the state, where a leading gun control advocate — astronaut Mark Kelly — ran in the Democratic primary on Tuesday for the late John McCain’s Senate seat. Few Democratic primary voters identified gun policy as the top issue facing the country; health care, followed by climate change and the economy, was considered most important.

In assessing who is best on health care, voters are roughly split between the two candidates. More consider Sanders most capable on climate change, while Biden has the edge on handling immigration.

In the border state, roughly a third say they favor increasing security along the U.S.-Mexico border, compared with two-thirds who are opposed.

FLORIDA

Once again, Biden proved he was the preferred candidate among older voters, moderates and conservatives, African Americans and women. But he also made inroads in Florida among Latino voters, a group that had been more likely to support Sanders, as well as liberal voters. The Associated Press called Biden the winner at poll close.

Among Florida’s Latino voters in the Democratic primary, 21% said they are Cuban and 33% self-identified as Puerto Rican. Biden received more support than Sanders from both groups, as well as from other Hispanic voters. He beat Sanders among Cuban voters, 57% to 36%, and among Puerto Rican voters, 62% to 23%.

Fifty-one percent of liberal voters went for Biden, compared with about 37% for Sanders.

During a pandemic that has stunted travel, closed schools, forced millions of workers to stay home and canceled campaign rallies, voters in Florida’s Democratic primary expressed measured concerns about the coronavirus. About 4 in 10 said they are very concerned that they or a relative will get the virus. Roughly as many are somewhat concerned, while just 2 in 10 expressed little to no concern.

Close to half named health care the most important issue facing the country — about on par with voters in many of the earlier contests as well. More voters said Biden is most capable of handling health care than said Sanders is best.

Democratic primary voters in the battleground state strongly believe Biden could fare well against President Donald Trump: 84% think the former vice president could definitely or probably win the general election. A smaller majority, 58%, think the Vermont senator could likely beat the incumbent president.

ILLINOIS

In Illinois, a wide share of Democratic primary voters — about three-quarters — say they are likely to vote for whoever is the nominee facing Trump in November. Some — 12% — say they would vote for Biden, but not Sanders; eight percent say they would vote for Sanders, but not Biden.

Biden drew his core supporters in Illinois, including women, moderate and conservative voters, older voters and African Americans. Sanders enjoyed support from two-thirds of voters under 30, though voters ages 30 through 44 split between him and Biden.

Biden was called the winner by The Associated Press.

Biden also was competitive with Sanders among Latino voters, a noticeable change from earlier contests.

More than 8 in 10 say it’s very important that the nominee can beat Trump and that he is a strong leader.

The two candidates fare about the same in the eyes of voters as best able to handle corruption in government, as well as health care, considered the top issue facing the nation.

More think Biden than Sanders would be more capable of handling issues related to race and the economy.

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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 surveys were conducted for seven days, concluding as polls closed.

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