New polling from All In Together examines the top issues for voters going into the 2022 Midterms. The survey also includes oversamples of Black, Latino, and Asian women and men, weighed down to reflect their proportions in the national sample. Detailed survey methodology can be found on the last page of this report.

The Economy is Dominant

The survey shows the dominance of the economy as the most important issue for voters, and rising prices driving the focus on the economy. It is clear that Republican voters in particular are deeply unhappy about the way the economy is going. 

Rising prices are the top concern for women and men voters. For women voters, health care and prescription drugs are secondary concerns, followed by abortion, taxes, and Ukraine and Russia. For men voters, secondary concerns are taxes and Ukraine and Russia, with health care and prescription drugs in a third tier and abortion barely even registering. 

What is the most important issue that will determine your vote in this year’s elections for Senate, Congress, and other offices?WomenMen
Rising prices32%31%
Health care and prescription drugs13%8%
Taxes9%14%
Abortion9%3%
Ukraine and Russia8%11%

Republican women and men (44% most important issue) are driving the concern for rising prices, and to a lesser extent, Independent women (34% most important issue) and men (32% most important issue). Democratic women are equally concerned about rising prices (22%) and health care and prescription drugs (19%). Democratic men are equally concerned about rising prices (18%), Ukraine and Russia (16%), and climate change (14%).

As of now, the election is not going to be a referendum on President Biden’s handling of the Russian war in Ukraine.

Graph of most important issue for women in the midterms broken down by race
Graph: Most important issue for women voters broken down by party
What is the most important issue that will determine your vote in this year’s elections for Senate, Congress, and other offices?Urban womenSuburban womenRural women
Rising prices27%35%36%
Healthcare and prescription drugs14%13%13%
Taxes6%11%9%
Abortion9%8%11%
Ukraine and Russia7%7%12%
Most important issue for women broken down by Race

A majority of women voters say that rising prices make them more likely to vote in this year’s elections, and four-in-ten say it makes them much more likely. Men voters are even more activated by rising prices.

Do rising prices make you more or less likely to vote in this year’s elections, or does it make no difference?WomenMen
Much more likely40%45%
More likely (much + somewhat more likely)54%62%
Less likely (much + somewhat less likely)12%7%
No difference30%29%

Both men and women blame Joe Biden and the Democrats for the rising cost of living (men; 47%, women; 46%) and the rising gas prices (men; 42%, women; 41%). While much of that blame is being driven by Republicans, a little over 40% percent of Democrats either blame Biden or both parties equally for rising cost of living—a warning sign for them. On rising gas prices however, a slight majority of both Democratic men and women blame a combination of oil and gas companies and Russia as being the most to blame.

However, while they blame Biden and the Democrats, voters are not clear on who they trust to address their concerns. Men and women are split on who they trust more to address rising prices and inflation — Joe Biden and the Democrats or Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress (men; 35% and 34% respectively, women; 31% and 33% respectively). Again, big party split here – but Independents are bucking both parties, with 30% of Independents say they trust neither party to address the economic situation.

Effects are Personal

This survey shows that the economy is fundamentally not working for women voters. A solid majority (58%) of women voters say the US economy is not working well for them personally, with a quarter (27%) who say it is not working well at all. Conversely, men voters are far more likely to say the economy is working very well (17%) for them and split between saying it is working well (49%) and not working well (47%).

How well would you say the US economy is working for you personally?WomenMen
Very well8%17%
Well (very + somewhat well)37%49%
Not well at all27%20%
Not well (not well at all + not too well)58%47%

Independent women, and to a larger degree, Republican women, do not believe the economy is working well for them personally. Conversely, Democratic women say the economy is working well, although few say it is working very well.

Part of the reason the economy is not working, and women voters are concerned about rising prices, is because incomes are not keeping up with rising costs. A solid majority of women are very concerned about their income keeping up with rising costs. Men are concerned as well, but with slightly less intensity.

How concerned are you about your income keeping up with rising costs?WomenMen
Very concerned57%53%
Concerned (very + somewhat concerned)79%75%

Across racial/ethnic subgroups, women voters are concerned about their income keeping up with rising costs. White women voters are more concerned than women of other races/ethnicities. A similar pattern emerges when looking at party identification – women across party identification are concerned, and Republican women are especially concerned.

Women voters are particularly noticing the increase in costs for food and gas, and the increased costs for those two are driving the concern about rising prices. Women voters are most concerned about the rising cost of food and gas. Men share these top rising cost concerns. 

The cost of many things is increasing. Which one of the following rising costs concerns you the most?WomenMen
Food32%31%
Gas prices29%32%
Rent and housing15%12%
Health care11%11%
Elder care4%3%
Child care3%2%
Prescription drugs3%4%
Higher education1%2%
Shipping costs1%3%

Rising food and gas prices are the most concerning to women voters across race. Rent and housing are much more salient to AAPI women voters, Black women voters, and Latina women voters than they are to white women voters. Republican women are most concerned about gas prices, while Independent women are most concerned about rising food prices. Democrats are equally concerned about both.

Looking to the Future

Things may be bleak today, but what about the future? There is a double-digit difference between women and men’s perception that the economy will get better in six months. About half of women think it will be worse and 18% say it will be better. A plurality of men say it will be worse and over a quarter say it will be better.

In six months, do you think the economy will be better, worse, or stay the same?WomenMen
Better18%26%
Worse49%45%
Stay the same19%21%
Unsure14%8%

Across race and among Independent women and Republican women, women voters believe the economy will be worse in six months. Democratic women split between better and worse. Republican women have an especially bleak outlook.

Women’s Party ID

White women voters identify as Republican by 16 points, while AAPI women voters, Black women voters, and Latina women voters, identify as Democrats by wide margins. 

PartyAAPI WomenBlack WomenLatina WomenWhite Women
Democrat52%73%51%30%
Independent27%21%33%24%
Republican21%6%16%46%

Methodology

The survey was administered by Emerson College Polling and advised by Lake Research Partners. Data was collected March 29-31, 2022. The national sample was n=1000 registered voters, with a margin of error of +/-3%. The survey also oversampled 400 Black voters, 400 Latino/a voters, and 400 Asian American/Pacific Islander voters (margin of error of +/-4.9% for all oversamples). The oversamples were weighted down to reflect their actual proportion in the national sample. The data sets were weighted by age, ethnicity, party affiliation, education, gender, and region based on 2020 voter turnout model. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using a cellphone sample of SMS-to-web, an online panel, and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines.