October 13, 2021 | Priya Elangovan
The non-partisan advocacy group All In Together has teamed up with Lake Research and Emerson College Polling to explore what is motivating people as we look forward to the 2022 Midterms. This survey looked at 1,000 registered voters nationwide from September 22-24, 2021, with a +/-3.1% margin of error. The survey also oversampled 200 Black women, 200 Latina women, and 200 Asian American/Pacific Islander women. The oversamples were weighted down to reflect their actual proportion of women. The survey was conducted using a mixed-method: IVR, online, and SMS-to-web.
Women of color, especially black women, are seen as the base of the Democratic party, and Democrats’ hope of gains in the midterm elections will be highly dependent on the turnout of this key group. Our survey oversampled 600 women of color, and found both similarities in motivation among women of color, but also distinct issue areas for Black women, Latinas, and API women.
Impact of Abortion Bills on Women of Color’s Motivation to Vote
Changes to abortion laws are making women of color more motivated to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. Black women (57% oppose), Latinas (52% oppose), and Asian American/Pacific Islander women (64% oppose) all oppose the Texas abortion ban by wide margins. 38% of Latina voters strongly oppose the law, and a plurality don’t believe their state should pass a similar law (49.5% no vs. 38.5% yes). Majorities of API women strongly oppose the Texas law (50.5%) and strongly disagree that their state should pass a similar law (51%). The Texas bill in particular is motivating women of color to vote in the midterms (61.2% more interested) and a majority of women of color would also be more interested in turning out in the midterms if Roe v. Wade is overturned (56.7%). This issue is also motivating for white women (59.9% for TX bill, and 57.8% for Roe v. Wade).
In the Texas bill, the lack of exceptions for rape or incest is the top concern for Black women who oppose the law (50% bothered most about this law), Latinas who oppose the law (45%), and Asian American/Pacific Islander women who oppose the law (36%). Asian American/Pacific Islander women are also bothered by making it illegal for most people to get an abortion (33% bothered by this).
On the Issues Motivating Midterm Election Votes
On the issues, women of color are in agreement that COVID is the most important issue in the midterms, followed by healthcare costs and prescription drug prices.
|% Most Important Issue||All Women||Black Women||Latinas||AAPI Women|
|Health care costs and prescription drug prices||16||17||16||16|
|Child care, elder care, and paid family medical leave||4||7||5||4|
Motivation of Latina Women
Only 32.8% of Latinas are very motivated to turn out in the 2022 midterms – a lower motivation level than young voters, a historically low turnout group. 40% of Latinas said they are almost certain to vote in the midterms, compared to 51% of the overall electorate. While a slim majority of Latinas are registered Democrats (55.3% Democrat, 18.6% Republican, and 26.1% Independent) they are also more likely to be Independent voters than the overall electorate (26.1% vs. 18.5% overall), and can be a strong voting bloc for Republicans in states like Florida and Texas. Motivating Latinas to the polls will be a challenge for both parties, 18% of the Latina voters surveyed did not cast a ballot in the 2020 elections (compared to 8% of the overall population surveyed). On our generic congressional ballot, 30% of Latina voters said they were undecided on their vote in the 2022 midterms.
However, changes to abortion laws may signal a change in this motivation among Latina voters, 37.2% of Latina voters say the Texas abotion law makes them much more interested in voting in the midterms. 38% of Latina voters strongly oppose the law, and a plurality don’t believe their state should pass a similar law (49.5% no vs. 38.5% yes). Our poll shows that pro-choice voters are more intensly motivated to vote this coming election. A majority of the Latina voters (54.5%) in our survey fell into the general pro-choice category, with 37% saying “abortion should be legal and generally available, subject to only limited regulation”.
Economic concerns are particularly important for Latina voters, with a combined 41.8% of them citing economic issues (healthcare costs and prescription drug prices, jobs, and rising prices) as the most important in determining their vote in the 2022 midterms. Our poll found that 46% of Latinas think that Democrats in Congress are doing a better job handling the economic recovery, and 31.6% are undecided. There is a potential for both parties to make inroads with Latina voters as major economic legislation (debt ceiling, reconciliation, infrastructure, and government funding) will pass or fail in the coming weeks. However, motivating Latina voters to the polls will be a challenge.
Motivation of Black Women
Black women’s motivation around these state level bills could cause an impact in red states, 53% of black women voters surveyed in our poll live in states with Republican governors, compared to 44% of the overall population. According to Pew, 1 in 3 black voters live in a battleground state, with black voters making up 32% of the electorate in Georgia, and 22% in North Carolina. Democrats have a massive advantage with black women voters, 72.9% are registered Democrats (11.1% are Republicans, and 16.1% Independents). Black women are the most motivated voters in 2022 (55.3%) across all demographic groups, and a majority is almost certain to vote in the midterms (55.8%).
COVID is by far the most important issue for black women in the midterms (30%) and they are more concerned about it than the overall population (21%). A significant majority of Black women (62.5%) think Democrats in Congress are doing a better job at handling the pandemic than Republicans, more than any other demographic group, and 56.2% say their governor has done a good or better job at handling the pandemic (19.4% excellent, 36.8% good). Black women also give Democrats an advantage on handling economic recovery (71% believe Democrats are handling it better), compared to 43% of the overall electorate believing Democrats are doing a better job on economic recovery.
Motivation of Asian and Pacific Islander Women
API women have the highest rate of support for abortion among women of color with 63% being generally pro-choice and 45% saying “abortions should be legal, generally available, and subject to only limited regulation”. Like women of color overall, API women are more interested in voting in the midterms (62.5%) due to the TX abortion ban, with 33% being much more interested in voting due to the bill. While abortion is a motivating factor in API women’s turnout few of them (4%) cited abortion as their most important issue in the midterms. The primary issues driving their vote choice in the midterms are COVID, followed by healthcare costs and prescription drug prices and national security. The importance of national security among Asian women ranks much higher than it does among Blacks and Latinas (see chart above) and slightly higher than the overall electorate (12%).
API women are one of the fastest growing segments of the electorate. Of those who voted in 2020, 66.8% voted for Joe Biden in our survey. However, party affiliation among API women is not as staunchly Democratic, 53.5% of API women are Democrats, 27.5% are Republicans, and 19% are Independents. We found that a majority of API women are very motivated to vote in the 2022 elections (51.5%), and 53% are almost certain to vote, slightly above the overall electorate (51%). In a survey of API women voters done by NAPAWF earlier this year, they found a 15% increase in API women’s voter participation from 2016 to 2020 and an increase in new voters, especially in the state of Texas, 19% of the API Texas voters surveyed were first time voters. The API women we surveyed favor Democrats over Republicans in the midterms (52% to 32.5%) with 15.5% undecided. Newly engaged API voters were also a major news story in Georgia, and were seen as instrumental to the success of the Democratic Senate candidates in the special election.
The continuing rise of API and Latina women voters as a share of the electorate in battleground states like Texas, Georgia, and Florida will have a major impact on the midterm elections. Black women continue to be the backbone of the Democratic party, and could continue to be a major force in the battleground states, particularly throughout the south. We know at AIT that women are not a monolith when it comes to voting, and the same is true of women of color, and that there are many regional, generational, and ethnic differences among the overall women of color electorate. According to Pew Research, Hispanics and Asians were less likely to have been contacted by a campaign in 2020, a trend that may need to change if groups want to motivate women of color, especially Latinas, to the polls in 2022.