A new Ms. magazine and Feminist Majority Foundation poll by Lake Research Partners across nine battleground states* finds that among young women voters, ages 18-29, abortion and women’s rights are the most important and highly motivating issues in determining their vote. And among women voters of all ages in battleground states, abortion and women’s rights are tied with inflation and rising prices in determining their votes.
“Despite constant reports in the media on inflation and rising prices as the top issues in this election, abortion and women’s rights are actually the most important for young women as they head to the ballot box,” said Katherine Spillar, executive editor of Ms. magazine. “The overturning of Roe v. Wade has lit a fire under women voters, and especially young women voters, who have the power to determine close elections.”
Abortion restrictions and outright bans have energized pro-abortion rights women to be motivated to turn out to vote in November in much larger numbers than their anti-abortion counterparts, refuting conventional wisdom that those opposed to abortion are more motivated by the issue. 35% of pro-abortion rights voters prioritize women’s rights and abortion in their vote decisions compared to 10% of anti-abortion voters.
“The message from women voters is clear: the Equal Rights Amendment is more important than ever, especially for young women who are most affected by the Court’s decision,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of Feminist Majority Foundation and a long-time leader in the fight for the ERA. “Voters – especially women voters – now know that rights can be taken away and want an amendment to the US Constitution guaranteeing that rights cannot be ‘denied or abridged on account of sex.’” The polling shows that 74% of young women support the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), with 72% saying it is “personally” important to them now that various states are banning abortion.
Here are the poll’s findings by key voting blocs:
Impact of Court’s Decision on Young Women Voters in Battleground States.
- 41% of young women voters are feeling angry or worried about the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v Wade.
- The poll found that 55% of young women voters in battleground states say abortion and women’s rights combined are the top issues that will determine their votes. Only 33% rank inflation and rising prices as their top issues motivating their vote, with even fewer ranking climate change (9%) or education debt (5%) as their top issue.
- In a generic congressional ballot across battleground states, young women voters support Democratic candidates (48%) topping support for Republican candidates (29%) by double-digit margins. Meanwhile, young men in battleground states are split in a generic congressional ballot (42% Democratic and 41% Republican).
Women Voters of All Ages Energized by Abortion and Women’s Rights
- In this election cycle, women’s rights and abortion matter, especially to women. Among women voters of all ages, abortion and women’s rights (at 31%) are just as critical as inflation and rising prices (at 32%), in determining their vote, and more important than crime (12%) or education (11%) regularly cited in media reports. Women, who are 52% of likely voters in the battleground states, could decide the outcome of key races as candidates engage them on issues of personal relevance, including abortion and equal rights under the law.
- Abortion restrictions and outright bans have energized pro-abortion rights women to be motivated to turn out to vote in November in much larger numbers than their anti-abortion counterparts, refuting conventional wisdom that those opposed to abortion are more motivated by the issue. 35% of pro-abortion rights voters prioritize women’s rights and abortion in their vote decisions compared to 10% of anti-abortion voters.
Eye-Opening and Under-Reported Revelations
- A significant majority (74%) of young women in battleground states support the Equal Rights Amendment being added to the U.S. Constitution. Just under three-quarters of all women voters (73%) support the ERA being placed in the Constitution, which is high among men as well (66%).
- Significantly, the ERA and abortion are connected for all women voters, with nearly three-quarters (73%) saying it is important to support the ERA in light of abortion bans; among young women voters, a similar 72% say that it is personally important to them to support the ERA now that states are banning abortion.
- The Feminist Factor is once again a critical voting bloc, the majority of women likely voters (57%) are self-declared feminists, and over a third of men likely voters (36%) say they are feminists. About two-thirds of likely voters in battleground states who consider themselves feminists vote for the Democrat in the Senate ballots (69%) and in the gubernatorial ballots (66%).
The Impact of Abortion on Young Women’s Lives
- The Court’s decision is having a real impact on young women’s lives. A significant portion of young women are making plans about where they are willing to live and work based on whether abortion is protected or banned in states. Over half (53%) have had their plans impacted in some way: 44% have either considered moving or are making plans to move to a state where abortion is protected; 10% already have declined a job in a state where abortions are banned.
- Not only has the decision affected their plans, but young women voters and people close to them are taking actions in response. For example, they are purchasing or obtaining long-acting birth control, the morning after pill and abortion pill.
- A third (33%) of young women voters in Battleground states have purchased or obtained, or know someone close to them who has purchased or obtained, long-acting birth control, 26% have purchased or obtained the morning after pill, 14% have ordered or purchased abortion pills (medication abortion). And shockingly, 10% say they or someone close to them, or their partner or the partner of someone close to them, has received sterilization services in response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade.
- Taking these actions in response to the overturning of Roe v Wade is also something that crosses party lines for young women. A third of young women Republicans have procured long-acting birth control (33%), and a quarter (25%) have purchased the morning after pill. Three quarters (75%) of young women Democrats have taken some sort of action.
The full analysis of the survey of young voters in battleground states can be found here.
The full analysis of all likely voters in battleground states can be found here.
Ms. magazine and the Feminist Majority Foundation commissioned Lake Research Partners to design and administer a telephone survey of 1,000 likely 2022 voters across nine battleground states – *AZ, FL, GA, NC, NH, NV, OH, PA, and WI, with additional oversamples of 100 Latinx and 100 Black voters across states. The survey fielded between September 7-13, 2022. The margin of error across battleground states is +/-2.8%. Lake Research Partners designed and administered the online survey of registered voters ages 18 to 29 to accompany the telephone survey of all likely voters to give us a deeper understanding of young women’s response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The survey online was conducted September 6-18, 2022, and included 750 registered voters ages 18 to 29 across the battleground states, and oversamples of 100 African American and 100 Latinx registered voters ages 18 to 29. The margin of error across battleground states is +/-3.2%