All In Together Survey Shows Age, Income, and Racial Differences in Political Opinion and Behavior

This page reflects the findings of a national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters conducted by GBAO, a polling and strategic consulting firm, on behalf of All In Together. The poll was conducted August 2-6, 2019, via online panel, and is subject to a +/- 3.1 percentage point margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level.


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Key Findings

  • Political division has gotten worse, but young voters, voters of color, and low-income voters see a future less bleak.
  • Previously thought of as “underperforming,” these groups are more politically engaged today and are looking to participate even more in the coming election.
  • In the Trump era, women of color are among the most politically active groups, while white women are less inclined to participate.
  • Compared to white women, women of color are more receptive to women political leaders, and are optimistic about a woman Democratic nominee’s chances.

Young, Minority, & Low-Income Voters More Optimistic of Overcoming Political Division

Clear majorities across gender, race, and socioeconomic lines say our country is currently “very politically divided,” with just a handful believing it is not. Political fault lines have only grown in recent years, with almost twice as many voters saying we are very divided now (71%) than say the country was very divided prior to 2016 (36%). But there are small signs of a more hopeful future, with a smaller majority (60%) anticipating deep division in the next two to three years.

% who think the country will be very politically divided in the next 2-3 years

Race serves as a dividing line regarding optimism for the future. Voters of color’s views of today’s divisions are similar to those of white voters (voters of color: 67% “very divided,” white: 72%). However, when it comes to the future, there is a wider racial gap: fewer voters of color are more pessimistic about the future than are white voters (voters of color: 54% “very divided” in two to three years; white: 63%). This racial gap is also present among women. Compared to white women (60%), fewer women of color (51%) see the country as likely “very divided” in the future.

Income and age also serve as key differentiators. The higher the household income, the more likely voters are to see the country as divided in the future. Low-income households are 15 points less likely than higher-income households to think the country will be “very divided” in the future (<$30K household income: 51%; $75K+ household income: 66%). Younger voters have a substantially less pessimistic outlook on the future than older voters. Less than half (47%) of voters under 30 think the country will be “very divided” in the next few years, compared to 64% of voters over 50.

 

The Demographics of the Politically Engaged Population Is Changing

Conventional wisdom has long held the belief that young, diverse, and low-income audiences don’t show up to vote and are not politically engaged in general. Census findings about 2018 turnout have begun to dispel this myth, and this poll’s findings on rates of participation in a range of political activities is further evidence these communities are showing up greater or equal numbers than communities long perceived to be more highly engaged.

We looked at different ways voters participate in politics, including volunteering, engaging with candidates or issues on social media, contacting officials, donating to campaigns, and attending marches, rallies, or protests. Voters in low-income households are equally likely to participate in the political process in one of these ways as higher-income households. Both groups similarly contact officials, volunteer, and attend marches, rallies or protests. Notably, income isn’t a dividing line for donating to candidates: those in higher-income households are only slightly more likely than those in low-income households to say they donate.

Past Participation: Activities Done Since the 2016 Presidential Election

This pattern holds among women: lower-income women surpass their upper income counterparts in volunteering, contacting elected officials, and engaging with candidates or issues on social media.

Lower-income voters predict their own sustained interest in politics through 2020. This group is more likely than higher-income households to say they will like political content on social media (low-income: 50%; higher-income: 40%) and volunteer (low-income: 32%; higher-income: 28%). Both groups are equally likely to say they will donate to campaigns and causes (lower income: 32%; higher income: 35%).

Some income effects can be explained by age. Lower-income people also tend to be younger (43% of those under thirty are in households making <$30 per year, vs. 24% overall of the population overall), and younger voters tend to use social media more than older voters. Seventy-six percent of voters under thirty use three or more forms of social media (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc.) versus only 43% of voters overall.

Women of Color Outpace White Women in Political Participation

When talking about women’s political participation, other demographic factors must also be considered because differences by race and party exist below the surface. In recent years, women of color were more likely to have participated in politics than white women across a spectrum of activities. Looking toward the 2020 election, this trend seems poised to continue as more women of color say they are interested than white women in volunteering, engaging with candidates or issues on social media, contacting officials, donating, and attending marches, rallies or protests. 

Past Participation: Activities Done Since the 2016 Presidential Election

Some of these racial effects can be explained by party, as women of color in this survey are predominately Democrats, and Democrats were more likely to participate in any of these activities. However, it is worth noting Democratic women of color were more likely to participate than white Democratic women overall (65% vs. 47%).

Women of Color Prefer Women in Office, and Believe a Woman Can Beat Trump

Women do not need to be better at governing to deserve parity in representation. However, many women—particularly women of color—feel other women would do a better job of representing their interests. The majority of women of color (57%), compared to only about a third of white women (36%), feel female officials would represent them better.

This gap can’t be completely explained by party identification. Democratic women of color feel slightly more strongly about women elected officials than Democratic white women do. These women of color are 5 points more likely than Democratic white women to feel female officials represent them better (68% vs. 63%)

Who Men and Women Think Will Win In 2020

Women of color are also particularly steadfast in their belief the Democratic nominee will be successful against Trump (+54 Democratic advantage), even if that candidate is a woman (+46). By comparison, men of color are far less confident in the Democratic nominee’s chances (+31), and even less so if the nominee is a woman (+10).

White women are even less optimistic about a Democrat’s chances, particularly if the nominee is a woman. White women move from being equally split on who will win the presidential race to giving Trump a 22-point advantage if the nominee is a woman. Among Democratic white women, the pessimism about a woman nominee is even more stark; far more think the Democratic nominee can win than think a female nominee can win, by a 31-point gap.

There is comparatively minimal gap among white men between a generic nominee and a generic female nominee; they are equally pessimistic about a Democrat’s chance regardless of the nominee’s gender.

 

About All In Together
All In Together (AIT) encourages, equips, educates, and empowers voting-age women to participate fully in America’s civic and political life. AIT is the only nonpartisan women’s organization committed to delivering cross-sector, innovative solutions to advance the progress of women’s leadership potential in their communities, their companies, the nation, and for themselves.