Table of Contents
This year, the economy has constantly been the top priority for voters.
In the October poll, nearly eight in ten registered voters (79%) think the economy is very important when deciding who to vote for in the 2022 congressional elections, the largest share of any of the 18 issues polled about.In recent months, Americans’ perceptions of the country’s economy have been overwhelmingly negative. According to the October study, approximately eight-in-ten individuals (82%) believe today’s economic conditions are terrible (36%) or barely fair (46%). Only 17% feel the situation is either great (2%) or good (16%). Many people are concerned about the future of democracy, with 70% of registered voters stating it is very essential to their midterm vote. Six out of ten people agree on education (64%), health care (63%), energy policy (61%), and violent crime (61%). More than half of voters agree on gun policy (57%) and abortion (56%). The coronavirus outbreak is near the bottom of voters’ priority issues, with 23% saying it is extremely important to their vote, down from a third in March.
Voters’ issue preferences vary greatly by party, as they did in previous elections.
While voters in both parties believe the economy is very important to their vote, voters who support or lean toward the Republican House candidate in their district are significantly more likely to say this (92% vs. 65%).
Other issues inspire even greater partisanship. Almost three-quarters of Republican voters (76%) and violent crime (74%) think immigration and violent crime are very important to their vote. Democratic supporters are significantly less likely to consider these issues to be extremely essential (36% and 45%, respectively). Democratic voters’ top priorities are the future of democracy in the United States (80% believe it is extremely important to their vote), health care (79%), and abortion (75%). Republican voters are slightly less likely than Democratic supporters to say the continuation of democracy is extremely important to their vote (70%), but they are significantly less likely than Democratic voters to say health care (42%) or abortion (39%). Climate change is also a hot topic among Democratic voters, with nearly two-thirds (68%) saying it is extremely important to their vote. Only 9% of Republican voters agree.
After the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in June, the subject of abortion gained prominence.
Between March and August, the proportion of registered voters who considered abortion to be a very significant election issue increased by 13 percentage points, from 43% to 56%. This proportion remained stable throughout the fall: As of October, 56% of registered voters said abortion was very important to their midterm election vote. The rise in anxiety has been driven primarily by Democratic registered voters: In the most recent poll, 75% of respondents evaluated abortion as very essential, a little increase from August (71%) but a decrease from 46% in March. In October, about four-in-ten Republican registered voters (39%) indicated abortion is a very important issue for their vote, roughly the same as in 2012. 41% said this in August, and 40% said it in March.
Nearly similar majorities of voters for candidates in both parties indicated they were “very” or “very” motivated to vote a few weeks before the midterm elections.
According to the October poll, eight out of ten registered voters who support Republican candidates are strongly motivated to do so, as do 79% of those who favor Democratic candidates.At that point in the election, voter motivation varied by race and ethnicity: 76% of White voters indicated they were extremely or very enthusiastic to vote, compared to 63% of Black voters, 57% of Hispanic voters, and 55% of Asian American voters. There were also differences by age group: 84% of those 65 and over stated they were extremely or very motivated to vote, compared to only approximately half (51%) of those under 65. Only almost half (51%) of voters aged 18 to 29 indicated they were extremely or very motivated to vote.
Approximately two-thirds of registered voters believe it “very matters” which party controls Congress, which is comparable to the proportion of voters who said this in the run-up to the 2018 election.
Since the spring, voters who support Republican candidates have been slightly more likely than those who support Democratic candidates to think that which party obtains control in this election is important. As of October, 76% of Republican supporters and 72% of Democratic voters agreed on this. Republican voters are also far more likely than Democratic voters to say they have given the forthcoming election a lot of thought (49% vs. 38%).Voters give this election cycle’s candidates low scores for explaining their goals for the country in general. According to an October poll, only 23% of registered voters say Republican candidates have done exceptionally or very well explaining their goals or aspirations for the country, while 19% say the same about Democratic contenders. While a huge majority of voters in both parties believe the opposite party has done poorly in expressing their goals, fewer than half of Republican voters (39%) believe GOP candidates have done extremely or very well in explaining their ideas; only 32% of Democratic voters agree.