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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 125531

Reported Deaths: 2299
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin32544966
Ramsey13430347
Dakota9321134
Anoka8154148
Stearns544336
Washington530567
Scott320934
Olmsted308929
St. Louis268963
Wright229614
Nobles216416
Clay207343
Blue Earth19717
Carver17077
Rice15819
Kandiyohi15704
Sherburne156621
Mower149113
Winona119918
Lyon9286
Crow Wing91521
Waseca9119
Chisago8792
Benton8575
Beltrami7977
Otter Tail7726
Todd7323
Steele7242
Itasca68417
Nicollet68217
Freeborn6384
Morrison6296
Douglas6123
Martin58916
Le Sueur5855
McLeod5693
Watonwan5684
Goodhue51511
Pine5110
Becker5033
Polk5024
Isanti4953
Chippewa3973
Carlton3861
Dodge3660
Mille Lacs36010
Hubbard3352
Pipestone32816
Wabasha3270
Cass3205
Meeker3113
Rock3011
Brown3003
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Murray2533
Redwood25011
Fillmore2380
Sibley2383
Renville23011
Faribault2130
Roseau1990
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Swift1921
Kanabec18910
Houston1811
Stevens1681
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Pennington1651
Koochiching1624
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Wilkin1254
Lac qui Parle1242
Lake1050
Mahnomen971
Norman970
Grant904
Marshall881
Clearwater840
Red Lake592
Traverse530
Lake of the Woods421
Kittson270
Cook110

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 108620

Reported Deaths: 1562
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk18087283
Woodbury685392
Johnson566030
Black Hawk526596
Linn5114127
Dubuque476354
Scott410537
Story387418
Dallas331043
Pottawattamie299844
Sioux230414
Buena Vista220412
Marshall193736
Webster172814
Plymouth154426
Wapello147562
Clinton136926
Muscatine136158
Crawford132112
Cerro Gordo126323
Des Moines12409
Warren11596
Carroll10388
Jasper103034
Henry9865
Marion93510
Tama90737
Lee8819
Wright6951
Delaware6898
Dickinson6877
Boone6819
Mahaska63723
Bremer6239
Washington61111
Harrison5868
Jackson5393
Benton5211
Lyon5177
Louisa49415
Clay4884
Hamilton4513
Winneshiek4479
Winnebago44517
Hardin4315
Poweshiek43011
Kossuth4280
Floyd41811
Jones4133
Buchanan4033
Emmet40214
Cedar3935
Iowa3848
Franklin37518
Guthrie37215
Sac3694
Cherokee3682
Page3620
Clayton3533
Shelby3511
Butler3472
Fayette3462
Madison3442
Cass3402
Mills3391
Allamakee3358
Chickasaw3271
Clarke3163
Humboldt2993
Palo Alto2912
Hancock2864
Grundy2834
Calhoun2724
Howard2519
Osceola2480
Monroe24511
Mitchell2360
Monona2311
Taylor2252
Union2164
Pocahontas2112
Appanoose2063
Jefferson2031
Lucas1896
Fremont1821
Ida1792
Greene1740
Van Buren1622
Davis1584
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Keokuk1421
Audubon1341
Worth1300
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