Polls Show Women Voters Were Decisive in 2018 Midterm Elections


The election thought to be a Democratic wave has turned into just that as results continue to come in showing a shift in power from the Republican Party to the Democrats. As of tonight, Democrats had flipped thirty-nine seats from Republican control. Political experts had predicted Democratic gains of thirty to forty seats in the election but expectations were tempered a little bit on election night as when early results began to be counted.

As the results continued coming in over the ensuing days however, it became increasingly clear the predictions were accurate. President Donald Trump lost more seats in the House than any Republican president since President Ford in 1974. In August 1974 President Richard Nixon resigned the presidency during the Watergate scandal. The Republican Party lost forty three seats that year in what was largely seen as a public rebuke over the scandal.

It is known that several demographic groups voted for the Democrats in large numbers.

Younger Americans, for example, those aged 18- to 39-years-old turned out in especially high numbers. They supported Democrats in especially high numbers as well – a 2-to-1 margin in this year’s election.

Democrats also did well among voters in suburban districts. Suburban voters supported Democrats by a large margin in every region in the country except the south, where support by suburban voters for the two parties was statistically even with Republicans leading slightly in the overall count.

Perhaps the most interesting revelation in this year’s election can be found in the voting by women. The gender gap this year was 13%, the largest in a decade – and it favored Democrats. Women supported Democrats by 60%, while only 47% of men voted blue.

The story of the election may very well be how white women voted (voters of color overwhelmingly supported Democrats regardless of gender).

White women without a college degree favored Democrats over Republicans by a slight margin over white men without college degrees. But a much larger percentage of female, white college graduates went for Democrats in this election. A larger percentage than college educated white men, and a larger percentage than college educated white women had supported Democrats in past elections.

In 2018, support for Democrats among college educated white women grew by eight percentage points over 2016, for example.

Further analysis shows the main reason this group went in such large numbers for Democrats was perceived attitudes about sexism. Analysis conducted by The Washington Post contends that people who were more likely to disagree with sexist statements were much less likely to vote Republican in 2018 than they had been in previous elections.

Past polling had also indicated that voters wanted to deliver a check on President Trump that divided government would allow.

Photo by Elvert Barnes via Wikimedia Commons