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AP VoteCast: Health care, climate are top issues in Iowa

Iowa Democrats came to the state’s caucuses Monday with key issues dominating their thoughts: health care, climate change and a fierce motivation to unseat President Donald Trump.

Posted: Feb 3, 2020 7:08 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Iowa Democrats came to the state’s caucuses Monday with key issues dominating their thoughts: health care, climate change and a fierce motivation to unseat President Donald Trump.

More than the economy, immigration or foreign policy, Democrats in the nation’s opening round of presidential primaries were mostly focused on access to medical treatment and the health of a planet being rapidly warmed by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities.

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AP VoteCast is a survey of more than 2,700 voters who said they planned to take part in Monday’s Democratic caucuses in Iowa, conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. It revealed broad satisfaction with top Democratic contenders, but also anxiety about who would have the easiest time in a match-up with Trump.

About 4 in 10 ranked health care as the most important issue facing the country, while 3 in 10 identified climate change as the top, according to AP VoteCast. Democratic voters were largely supportive of government programs that would improve access to health insurance coverage as well as taxation of carbon emissions in order to limit climate change.

Democratic presidential candidates have contested whether its more important to offer an ambitious set of policies or take a more moderate tack that could siphon away support from President Donald Trump in key Midwestern states.

Candidates such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have embraced bolder changes such as universal health care through the government and a wealth tax. Former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar have called for more incremental shifts in policy.

But Iowa Democrats are united in their distaste for the sitting president. An overwhelming majority of caucusgoers — about 8 in 10 — were “angry" with the Trump administration. Another 14% said they were “dissatisfied, but not angry.”

Even though the Senate impeachment trial appears certain to close this week with an acquittal for Trump, nearly 8 in 10 Democrats surveyed said they judged the impeachment process to be “worth it.” Not surprisingly, nearly every Iowa Democrat said the ability to beat Trump was an important quality for a presidential nominee.

Yet many of the Democratic presidential candidates have possible weaknesses when challenging Trump. More than 4 in 10 of Iowa's voters said it would be harder for a woman to unseat the president. Almost 6 in 10 said a gay candidate would have more difficulty defeating Trump, a potential risk for Buttigieg. Roughly the same share said a nominee with “strongly liberal views” would also face a harder time, while close to half said a nominee older than 75 — Biden and Sanders — would have a tougher time versus Trump.

The solid economy, with unemployment at a half-century low, was an afterthought for Iowa Democrats, with just about 1 in 10 saying the economy was the top issue facing the nation. Trump has been rooting his reelection efforts around the economy’s growth, yet few Iowa Democrats seem willing to reward him for an expansion that began under his predecessor.

Democrats in Iowa do not feel they're benefiting much from the growing economy. Roughly two-thirds of Iowa Democrats describe their own financial situations as “holding steady.” Slightly more say they are falling behind than say they are getting ahead.

Nearly 9 in 10 described the economy as very or somewhat unfair, a possible sign that many Democrats are nervous about the growing concentration of wealth and power with the top 1% of U.S. households.

The concerns about medical care, the fate of the planet and inequality are reflected in overwhelming support among Iowa Democrats for a presidential candidate who could transform the U.S. government.

Nearly two-thirds said it was more important for them to vote for a candidate who will fundamentally change how the political system works, compared with one who will restore Washington to the way it was before Trump’s inauguration.

Iowa Democrats under age 45 favored fundamental change by roughly 3 to 1. About two-thirds of those age 45 to 64 also considered fundamental change to be the better approach. But voters over 65 were closely divided in which they preferred.

Significant change could come from how Americans pay for health insurance. Seven in 10 backed a single-payer health care plan, which would shift all Americans to government-based insurance instead of private plans. Almost 9 in 10 support a proposal for people having a public option to receive health care through the government.

On climate change, close to 9 in 10 Iowa Democrats support taxing carbon-based fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. Nearly half were strongly in favor of the proposal.

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Reported Deaths: 1698
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Hennepin19271835
Ramsey7572265
Dakota4414106
Anoka3683114
Stearns289320
Washington212845
Nobles17646
Olmsted173223
Scott155919
Mower11012
Rice10328
Blue Earth9185
Wright8845
Carver8613
Clay78440
Sherburne7238
Kandiyohi6961
St. Louis55319
Todd4262
Lyon4253
Freeborn3591
Steele3482
Nicollet33713
Benton3203
Watonwan3080
Winona26116
Beltrami2400
Crow Wing23514
Le Sueur2201
Martin2075
Chisago2011
Goodhue1969
Otter Tail1943
McLeod1810
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Becker1571
Pipestone1579
Polk1534
Waseca1480
Itasca14712
Douglas1441
Carlton1370
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Dodge1270
Isanti1250
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Rock850
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Swift531
Roseau520
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Houston420
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Norman400
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Redwood360
Wilkin343
Hubbard330
Marshall290
Mahnomen271
Wadena270
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake210
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse110
Lac qui Parle70
Cook50
Kittson30
Lake of the Woods20

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 48781

Reported Deaths: 929
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10309207
Woodbury371952
Black Hawk312766
Linn237588
Johnson209619
Dallas188535
Buena Vista179412
Scott171814
Dubuque167631
Marshall144426
Pottawattamie132526
Story116614
Wapello90033
Muscatine84748
Webster8017
Crawford7283
Sioux6343
Cerro Gordo62517
Warren5641
Tama55129
Jasper47826
Wright4721
Plymouth4629
Clinton3973
Dickinson3814
Louisa37814
Washington29810
Boone2583
Hamilton2461
Franklin24110
Bremer2267
Clarke2013
Carroll1921
Emmet1924
Clay1901
Shelby1841
Hardin1810
Des Moines1792
Marion1730
Poweshiek1598
Benton1561
Jackson1561
Allamakee1554
Floyd1552
Mahaska13917
Cedar1331
Guthrie1325
Jones1302
Buchanan1271
Henry1254
Hancock1222
Butler1212
Madison1212
Pocahontas1152
Lee1143
Lyon1132
Delaware1121
Humboldt1111
Cherokee1081
Harrison1071
Clayton1043
Taylor980
Iowa971
Winneshiek971
Page940
Kossuth910
Monona910
Mills890
Sac850
Jefferson840
Palo Alto840
Winnebago840
Calhoun832
Osceola830
Fayette820
Grundy791
Mitchell780
Union771
Cass741
Monroe737
Lucas684
Worth660
Montgomery594
Davis572
Chickasaw540
Appanoose493
Howard490
Fremont420
Greene410
Van Buren371
Keokuk351
Adair300
Ida290
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Ringgold221
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