While women are registering to vote in massive numbers following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Mississippi, those numbers have been shown to be concentrated in some states over others. The surge has been most significant in the states where abortion access is directly on the ballot, like Kansas, or those where the outcome of a governor’s race or a handful of state legislature seats would open the door for state-level restrictions, like in Pennsylvania. Outside of these states where abortion rights are directly at play, the increase in women’s registration is much smaller, about 5%. The New York Times analysis also finds that the surge in registration has already tapered off and has not meaningfully changed the electorate in most states.
Given that, it’s important to still pay attention to the groups that helped determine the outcomes in the 2018 and 2020 elections, Independent women and suburban women voters. Our new polling at All In Together found Independent women voters are increasingly distasteful of both parties and are feeling more forgotten by both parties. In a recent poll from the 19th* News, half as many Independents (34%) are enthusiastic about voting in the upcoming elections compared to Democrats (72%) and Republicans (73%). Our poll found that half of Independent women are almost sure to vote in the upcoming midterms, which is the highest among the polls we have done throughout the 2022 election cycle. However, these numbers are significantly down from what we saw during the 2020 election cycle. Though a drop-off in turnout is normal between Presidential and midterm elections, the drop-off is much bigger among Independent voters than among Republicans and Democrats.
This drop-off in interest may be driven by dissatisfaction with our two main political parties. When it comes to which party shares their values, almost half of Independent women voters (46%) say neither party shares their values, and the same percent believe that neither party cares about people like them.
The number of Independents has been larger than Republicans and Democrats for the last several election cycles. According to August’s most recent Gallup tracker, 43% of Americans identify as Independents. As the share of Independents continues to grow, this will have major impacts on both political parties as well as our democracy overall. Finding ways to make Independent voters feel like they have more of a say in our political system may go a long way to restoring faith in our democracy.