NEW BATTLEGROUND STATE RESEARCH: Midterm Interest High Among Rising American Electorate

Action Fund Research — May 3, 2018

Millennial Enthusiasm Shows Promise After Hearing Messages on Gun Safety and the Economy

The Rising American Electorate – unmarried women, people of color, and young people – is the group of 2016 voters who are most likely to drop-off and not vote in the 2018 midterms. Groundbreaking new research from Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund (WVWVAF) and Democracy Corps’ Stan Greenberg shows they are poised to reverse this trend and deliver their midterm votes as a referendum on the economy, gun safety, and health care. This innovative longitudinal research program in 12 battleground states combines a survey of 1,000 registered voters with an on-going web panel of 3,100 RAE voters and white working class women to better understand the RAE, changes in attitude, and the messages that resonate the most.

The research shows good signs for progressives in the battleground states: Millennials represent a challenge with lower intensity levels, but their intensity levels are promising after hearing messages on gun safety and the economy. White working class women meanwhile have RAE-level interest in the midterms, but are still skeptical of Democrats.

Critically, the new message platform recommended in this research produces major shifts and increases high interest for the RAE across the board – including with millennials. The Democrats have an energized base with 51 percent interest in the midterms after messaging, compared to only 37 percent interest for Republicans. Fallout from Republican policies like the tax cut law, rising health care costs, and lack of progress on gun safety are leading RAE voters to shun them in key gubernatorial, Senate, and Congressional races.


Page Gardner, founder and president of WVWVAF, said: “WVWVAF’s groundbreaking battleground state research shows there are both opportunities and areas of concern – especially with millennials and white working class women. The Rising American Electorate across the board increases their interest in the midterms after hearing messages on the economy, health care, and gun safety, but will that be enough? The answer is what will determine control of Congress, governors’ mansions, and state legislatures in November.”


Read the Battleground Panel memo here.

Read the Battleground Panel deck here.

Highlights from WVWVAF’s research include:

  • Unmarried Women are Key: Across Gubernatorial, Senate, and Congressional battleground races, unmarried women – including white unmarried women – are reporting some of the strongest interest in the midterms and that the election matters among the RAE. Unmarried women are also two-to-one in favor of the Democratic candidate in Governor and Congressional races.
  • Tax Cuts Not Being Felt: The RAE doesn’t think the new GOP tax cut law is benefitting them personally, with +38 African Americans and +38 unmarried women agreeing with that statement.
  • Wages Trailing Costs, Including Health Care Costs:Six-in-ten RAE voters don’t think wages are keeping up with the cost of living, especially health care costs that are increasing under the Trump Administration.
  • Potency of Gun Safety: Universal background checks and an assault weapons ban are overwhelmingly supported by a margin of 73-17 among the RAE and white working class women. Similarly, the Parkland students are favored by all subgroups of the RAE.
  • Millennials Lagging Interest: Millennials increase their interest in the midterms after messaging, but it’s still lower than other segments of the RAE.
  • Messages Work in Governor Races:The recommended messages shift both independents and key millennials, like minority millennial women and white millennial men, toward the Democratic candidate for governor.
  • Senate Democrats are Candidates for Change: The support for Democratic candidates tracks with the belief that the country is going in the wrong direction among registered voters in battleground states.
  • RAE in Battleground Congressional Districts: The RAE is +17 in the 18 DCCC battleground districts covered in this research, which shifts to +20 after hearing messages.

This research is part of WVWVAF’s investment in groundbreaking research with Democracy Corps and Greenberg Research to chart and measure the shifting perceptions and engagement of the Rising American Electorate – unmarried women, people of color, and millennials – and white working class women voters under the Trump Administration. The innovative research program combines a phone poll of registered voters with an on-going web-panel of 3,100 Rising American Electorate voters – unmarried women, people of color, and young people – and white working class women to track shifts among the issues, messages, and voting blocs that will determine control of Congress, governors’ mansions, and state legislatures across the country.


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