- Abortion and cost of living are tied as the main voting issues for women voters going into the 2024 election
- The state of our democracy rose in importance, joining abortion, cost of living, and guns as a major voting issue
- Immigration is a top voting issue for Republican women, and health care is considered a top voting issue for Democratic women
- Cost of living, abortion, and healthcare are the top issues among young voters – but there is gender polarization around all three
- Cost of living is a top voting issue for Democratic men and Democrats under 40, but not Democratic women
Guns slip from top issue among women but are still in the top three
In our May 2023 poll, we found that guns were the top voting issues among women looking toward 2024, followed closely by the cost of living and abortion. While the position of these issues has shifted slightly, they remain the top issues on women voters’ minds.
One interesting shift is the rise in importance of the state of our democracy. The continuing coverage of former President Donald Trump’s various trials and the possibility of a Republican House impeaching President Biden, along with the recent release of footage from the events on January 6th may be the cause. The state of our democracy and immigration were the only issues to increase in importance between May and November.
There are also some interesting gaps between white women and women of color. Women of color are driving concern around guns and health care. Immigration is far more important to white women than women of color.
Party Affiliation Determines Priorities
There is a great deal of difference in the views of women across political parties. In May, cost of living was by far the top issue among Republican women, followed by immigration and crime. Guns and abortion followed closely for fourth. The relative importance of these issues hasn’t changed since May for Republican women. Abortion and guns had a major decline in importance for Republican women, dropping by 12 points between May and November. In November, we also asked voters about how they ranked the importance of the war between Israel and Hamas. While it is not a top issue for women voters, Republican women were much more likely to say a candidate must share their views (33%) than either Democratic (22%) or Independent (15%) women.
The cost of living remains the top voting issue for Republican and Independent women, though for Independent women abortion is almost tied. While the cost of living is not a top issue for Democratic women, it is a top issue for Democratic men. 60% of Democratic men cite it as a dealbreaker. The top issues for Democratic women in May were guns and abortion, with health care in a distant third. These remain the top issues for Democratic women, and healthcare has risen in importance to match the level of guns and abortion. The state of our democracy has also risen as an issue among Democratic women, becoming more important than the cost of living and climate change.
Where Younger Voters Stand
Despite younger voters identifying as Democrats in greater percentages, young voters share their top issue with Republicans. Cost of living is the number one issue for young voters followed by abortion and health care. Cost of living is more important to young Democrats with 65% of Democrats under 40 citing it as a dealbreaker, compared to 46% and 45% of Republicans and Independents under 40 respectively. Climate change also has a notable gap with 44% of the youngest voters (18-29) noting it as a dealbreaker, compared to only 27% of those in the next age group (30-39).
There are some sharp gender gaps among younger voters as well. Other surveys have shown that the youngest voters are the most gender-polarized generation. Based on our data’s sample sizes, we focused our analysis on voters under 40 and voters over 40. We found the sharpest age divides on guns and taxes, with both issues holding a much greater importance for men than women. Unsurprisingly, abortion holds greater importance among women, but is still an issue of importance with men.
This polling was conducted shortly after the shootings and manhunt in Lewiston Maine. In our previous May poll, we found significant differences in the types of gun policies that men and women were willing to support, with especially large gender gaps among Republicans. In this November update, we found similar gender gaps.
While there is generally high support for policies like restricting people under 21 from having a gun (75%) and red flag laws (71%), other policies like restricting purchases of different types of guns or high-capacity magazines enjoy much lower support. Still, Republican women are generally much more open to restrictions on guns than Republican men.
These questions were asked as part of the Echelon Insights monthly Verified Voter Omnibus.
The November 2023 Echelon Insights Verified Voter Omnibus was fielded online from November 14-17, 2023 in English among a sample of N=1,006 voters in the Likely Electorate (LV) nationwide using non-probability sampling. The sample was drawn from the Lucid sample exchange and matched to the L2 voter file.
Data quality measures included the use of a trap question to check for attentiveness and measures to prevent and remove duplicate responses based on IP address and voter file matches. Respondents who answered more than one-third of the questions they were asked in less than one-third of the median response time per question were removed from the data file.
The sample was weighted to population benchmarks for registered voters and the 2024 Likely Electorate on gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, region, party, past primary participation, and 2020 presidential vote adjusted for 2024 turnout probability. All benchmarks for the 2024 Likely Electorate were adjusted for turnout estimates based on a probabilistic model of the likely 2024 electorate derived from the L2 voter file.
Estimates for gender, age, and party were derived from the L2 voter file. Estimates for race/ethnicity and education were derived from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey demographic data adjusted to match voter registration estimates from the November 2020 Current Population Survey Voting and Registration Supplement.
Calculated the way it would be for a random sample and adjusted to incorporate the effect of weighting, the margin of sampling error is ± 4.1 percentage points.