• Polling

Inflation, Jobs and the Economy, and Abortion Topped Issue Priorities Among Midterm Voters

Thursday, November 17, 2022 By Bryan Bennett
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Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.

What We Did: 2022 Midterm Voters Survey

The slides in this presentation are based on interviews with 5,013 registered voters who had already voted or planned to vote in the November election, with interviews conducted November 1st through November 14th . Support for Democratic candidates and Republican candidates in elections for Governor, Senate, and the House of Representatives have been adjusted to reflect the actual expected results as of November 14th . The analysis aims to provide a new tool for Americans to understand what happened in the 2022 election, why it happened…and what’s next.

Key takeaways

  • One issue alone did not drive most decision making. From an issue perspective, inflation, abortion, and jobs and the economy were the prevailing concerns.
  • Congressional Republicans won voters who prioritized economic concerns (inflation, jobs, economy), while Congressional Democrats won among voters who prioritized abortion and economic issues, as well as those who prioritized non-economic issues.
  • The top reasons to vote for Democrats were abortion, gun reform, Social Security and Medicare, taxing the rich, and climate change.
  • For “winning swing” voters who clinched Democratic victories in the most competitive races, abortion, protections for Social Security and Medicare, and lowering prescription drug prices were the top reasons to vote for Democrats.
  • The top reasons to vote for Republicans were inflation and government spending, crime and public safety, immigration, domestic energy production, and lower taxes.

Inflation Was the Top Issue for Voters, Followed by Abortion; Swing Voters Who Clinched for Democrats Prioritized Both

For those “winning swing” voters who clinched races in key places for Democrats in 2022, 49% prioritized inflation followed by 35% who prioritized abortion. Another 31% of “winning swing” said Social Security and Medicare was a top issue.

Single Issue Inflation Voters Went Republican, While Mixed Issue/Other Issue Voters Voted for Democrats

Democrats won by 64 points with voters who picked abortion and not jobs/inflation as top issues, but also won by 27 points with voters who picked abortion and jobs/inflation as top issues.

Best Reasons to Support Democrats Include Health Care Costs, Abortion Rights, January 6th, and the Environment

Among “winning swing” voters who helped push Democrats over the top in competitive races across the country, abortion was more of a reason to vote for Democrats by 48 points, while inflation (-9D) was just narrowly more of a reason to support Republicans.

Top Reasons Voters Supported Democrats Are Abortion, Guns, Social Security/Medicare, Taxing the Rich, and Climate

Nearly half of voters who voted for a Democrat say abortion was a top reason; 52% of straight ticket Democratic voters say the same.

  • For “winning swing,” abortion was the top reason (39%), followed by Social Security/Medicare (33%), and lowering drug prices (29%).

Inflation/Gov’t Spending, Crime/Public Safety, Immigration, Energy Production, and Taxes Top Reasons to Vote GOP

Nearly half of those who voted for a Republican did so because of inflation and government spending (49%).

While GOP Won Early Deciders, Voters Who Decided Later Favored Democrats

Among the half of the electorate (49%) that decided their vote before September, House Republicans won by 7 points; among those who decided later, Democrats had advantages across the board.

Inflation, Abortion, and the Economy Are Top Priorities for Next Congress

Congressional Democratic voters show a broad range of priorities: climate, the economy, abortion rights, inflation, and gun control. Those who somewhat disapprove of the job Biden is doing as president are focused on inflation most of all, followed by the economy and abortion.

Inflation and the Economy are Seen as Issues the Parties Need to Work Together on the Most

Those who voted for a Democrat for Congress also want to see a focus on on gun control, abortion, and climate change.

Almost One in Five Volunteered or Attended Political Events, With Black and Hispanic Voters Most Civically Engaged

Regardless of vote choice in the House, race, education, or ethnicity, at least two in three voters report talking about, posting about, or donating toward politics since Biden was elected.

Americans Uneasy about U.S. Democracy; Straight Ticket Republican Voters Less Confident in 2022 Election

Three in five are uneasy about the state of American democracy today (61%), with greater unease among straight ticket Republican voters (72%). They are also least confident the midterm election results will be counted correctly and fairly (47% not confident).

Americans Broadly Pessimistic About the Direction of the Nation, Somewhat More Positive About Their State

Ticket splitters show notable pessimism about the direction of the country (73% wrong track), though they are more positive about their state (37% headed in the right direction).

Democratic Voters Are More Optimistic About America’s Future, While Ticket Splitters & Republicans Voters Are Less So

Straight ticket Republican voters (62%) and white non-college voters (55%) are most likely to say America is in decline. Straight ticket Democratic voters (39%) and Black voters (48%) are most optimistic that America’s best days are ahead.

About The Study

Global Strategy Group conducted survey of 5,013 registered voters from November 1-November 14, 2022, with respondents recruited from opt-in online panel vendors. Respondents were verified against a voter file and special care was taken to ensure the demographic composition of the sample reflected that of the expected 2022 electorate in the House, Senate, and Governor’s races. The vote shares for Democrats and Republicans among self-reported 2022 voters were also adjusted to reflect a preliminary estimate of the actual results of the 2022 elections

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org