The 2020 election will be seen through the prism of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic aftermath. All In Together has looked at how these factors are shaping the contours of the election and have defined a key swing women’s group for the election – “The Guardian Women™” – women who say their top value is “security.” In other elections the soccer moms, waitress moms, and Reagan seniors have defined the key swing vote. This year the “Guardian Women™” look to be a key swing vote. They split in party identification, split in their current Presidential vote (46% Biden, 42% Trump, 12% undecided). In fact, they split in their past vote in 2012 (40% Obama, 42% Romney) and in 2016 (43% Clinton, 41% Trump). Sixty-two percent strongly agree their political participation matters now more than ever to protect our country and families.
Who are the Guardian Women™?
Guardian Women™ tend to be over 50, white, non-college educated, married, and they have an annual household income above $50,000.
Guardian Women™ are different from women overall in that they are older, slightly less Democratic and Independent and more Republican or nonpartisan, less liberal and more moderate, more non-college educated and less college-educated, wealthier, whiter and less likely to be Latina, less single and more separated, and more Northeastern and Midwestern and less Western.
What Are the Political Views of the Guardian Women™?
Even though they split between the two parties, leaning slightly more Democratic (41%) than Republican (36%) with a substantial number of Independents and non-affiliated (23%), the Guardian Women™ are a true swing constituency. Looking back at their vote history over the past several election cycles, they report voting both Republican and Democratic and generally splitting their vote.
In 2012, they split their vote: Republican Mitt Romney (42%), Democrat Barack Obama (40%). In 2016, they split again: Democrat Hillary Clinton (43%), Republican Donald Trump (41%). In the 2018 midterms, they report voting for the Democratic House candidate (46%) by 8 points over the Republican House candidate (38%), but still are swing.
If the 2020 General Election were held today, Guardian Women™ would vote for Democrat Joe Biden (46%) over Republican Donald Trump (42%), with 12% who are undecided. While Biden has a narrow four-point lead among these women, the undecided Guardian Women™ lean toward Trump, though the N-size is small. By comparison, women overall vote for Biden by 16 points – 53% to 37% and the undecided women lean solidly to Biden.
Guardian Women™ tend to be more favorable toward Joe Biden than Donald Trump. A majority (55%) are favorable toward Biden (19% very favorable), with 35% who feel unfavorable (28% very unfavorable). On the other hand, a majority (53%) of Guardian Women™ are unfavorable toward Donald Trump (39% very unfavorable), while 46% feel favorable toward the president (31% very favorable).
Guardian Women™ are splitting down the road and could go either way on election day and will be a battleground for each campaign.
What Are the Values and Attitudes of Guardian Women™?
Guardian Women™ are very engaged to turnout in the election this November; 85% report they are almost certain to vote. In overwhelming numbers, they agree that their vote matters now more than ever to make sure the United States goes in the right direction (90% agree, 69% strongly agree).
Given their primary value of security, it is no surprise that they see a major role for themselves as protectors. Nearly universally, they agree that their political participation matters now more than ever to protect our country and families (88% agree, 62% strongly agree), and that they feel they have a very important role protecting their family and community (90% agree, 66% strongly agree).
Guardian Women™ also say that COVID-19 has increased a lot (26%) or some (15%) the amount of care they are providing for parents and other relatives – significantly higher than for women overall (15% increased a lot, 15% some).
These attitudes toward political participation, voting, and protecting our country, as well as their families and communities are so strongly held that they operate as core values for Guardian Women™.
The All In Together/Emerson College poll advised by Lake Research Partners was conducted May 8-9, 2020. The sample consisted of registered Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters, n=1000, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by age, ethnicity, education, and region based on US Census data and 2012, 2016 and 2018 turnout models based on exit polling and Census reports. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines (n=344), SMS-to-web text panel (n=314) and an online panel provided by MTurk (n=343).