For Democrats, The Midterms Are About Health Care. For Republicans, It’s Immigration.

Here’s what voters said the candidates were talking about in their states before Election Day.

Democrats and Republicans have very different ideas about the issues defining the 2018 midterm elections.

Democratic voters are overwhelmingly focused on health care, according to HuffPost/YouGov polling taken throughout the summer and fall, while Republicans are most concerned with immigration. And those preferences closely mirror perceptions about what each party’s candidates have focused on throughout the campaign.

What Americans say matters most has fluctuated modestly throughout the year, with health care and immigration both being top issues. Concerns about immigration peaked during the debate over family separations in the summer and again in October as the president ramped up anti-immigration rhetoric during the closing days before the election. The share of voters who named the Supreme Court as a top issue dropped by half between a poll ending Oct. 2 and a subsequent one ending Oct. 23 (Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed between the two).

In the most recent HuffPost/YouGov poll, 35 percent of voters named health care as among the issues most important to them, and 34 percent named immigration. The economy, at 26 percent, took third place, followed by gun policies at 15 percent, social issues at 11 percent, and both the Supreme Court and “the way things work in Washington” at 10 percent. Seven other topics polled in single digits: the environment, Donald Trump’s record as president, Trump’s personality and character, tax reform, voting rights, foreign policy and infrastructure.

But results were sharply polarized. In the final survey before Election Day, 48 percent of voters who described themselves as Democrats or leaning toward the Democratic Party named health care as one of the two issues most important to them. Nothing else came remotely close ― the next two issues, gun policies and the environment, scored just 16 percent each. Republican and Republican-leaning voters showed a similar gulf between their top concern and everything else: 60 percent named immigration as among their top issues, with 38 percent picking the economy and fewer than a quarter naming anything else.

By Ariel Edwards-Levy for HUFFINGTON POST
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