Polling for the upcoming midterm election has been teetering back and forth between which party will win the most seats, but the prevailing sentiment is that Democrats are in big trouble due to Republican-driven narratives on inflation, gas prices and crime. “Fearing a New Shellacking, Democrats Rush for Economic Message,” read a recent New York Times headline for an article that cites a Democratic pollster expressing worry that party support from the summer is “evaporating.”
But while polling shows an airtight margin in Tuesday’s election, it mostly fails to account for turnout: Younger voters have registered this midterm cycle at rates matching or exceeding 2018’s historic levels, and the concern among young women, specifically of having less bodily autonomy than their mothers and grandmothers, is what’s driving it.
But I’ve noticed a hesitation to recognize this potential impact. On Oct. 31, Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling tweeted: “The single largest age group registered in Georgia is the 18-24 year olds with 853,426 registered. However, only 65,605 have voted. That is 7.68% of the youngest voters voting.”
According to Tom Bonier, the CEO of the Democratic political data services firm TargetSmart, there’s a possible explanation for that gap. “Most of the pollsters have been asking ‘How do you plan to vote?’ or ‘When do you plan to vote?’ and the young voters have the highest share of saying ‘On Election Day,’” he told me. He added, “When you look at the New York 19 special election, the Kansas primary, some of these higher turnout elections we’ve had in the last couple of months, the younger voters were more likely to vote on Election Day than older voters.” [Continue reading…]