New AARP Research Shows the Power of Neglected Voters
April 11, 2022 – WASHINGTON—Women voters 50 and older haven’t decided which candidates to back, and which direction they choose will most likely determine the the balance of power in Congress and in the country’s state houses.
New research published today by AARP in partnership with pollsters Celinda Lake, Christine Matthews, Kristen Soltis Anderson and Margie Omero found that only 17% of women in this important electoral bloc have decided who they will vote for in the 2022 election. About two-thirds (65%) of these voters say they won’t make their decisions until weeks or days before Election Day.
“Contrary to conventional wisdom, female voters aged 50 and over do not belong firmly to either party’s camp – and the vast majority have yet to decide how they will vote in November,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s chief advocacy officer. and escrow agent. “The instability and uncertainty of the economy, the pandemic and the political environment lead these women to demand that women candidates address quality of life and portfolio issues like cost of living, supply chain issues supply and the means to end the discord that pervades politics today. ”
The main issues for women voters aged 50 and over are kitchen table budgets and the daily experience of rising prices. Almost half (46%) rank the rising cost of living as the most important issue facing the country today. And 59% say rising prices are the most important thing to them personally when thinking about the economy.
Women aged 50 and over constitute one of the largest and most reliable groups of voters. According to voter records and Census Bureau data, they make up just over a quarter (27%) of registered voters and cast nearly a third (30%) of all ballots in the 2020 and 2018 elections. In 2020, 83% of registered female voters in this age bracket turned out, and in 2018, during the last midterm election, they were 15% more likely to vote than the general population.
Other main conclusions among women voters aged 50 and over include:
- 72% are worried about having enough income to meet rising costs, with 48% saying they are very worried.
- A majority (52%) say the economy is not working well for them, a change of 15 points from 2019, when just 37% of women said the economy is not working well for them.
- The majority aren’t optimistic about their own financial future over the next 12 months – with 47% saying they think their personal financial situation will stay the same, while 39% think it will get worse and only 13% think it will get better.
- Women aged 50-64 are extremely concerned about saving for retirement and their financial future – 51% say they are very concerned about Social Security being there for their retirement and 30% say they are mostly concerned about having saved enough for retirement.
According to the survey, women voters aged 50 and over are also concerned about the political division in the country, and they are unimpressed with the work that elected officials are doing on a range of issues, including their overriding concern for price increase.
By a margin of more than two to one, these voters want a politician who is willing to work together to get things done, even if the result is an occasional compromise that goes against voters’ values (67%), rather than a politician who constantly fights for his values but often does not find a solution (30%). This finding remains consistent across party identifications, with 77% of female Democrats and 57% of female Republicans preferring a political compromise to get things done, while 21% of female Democrats and 40% of female Republicans prefer a politician who favors values.
Female voters aged 50 and over are evenly split by party (44% R – 45% D) unlike their male counterparts who are solidly Republicans (51% R – 38% D). In a generic ballot, the Democratic candidate for Congress (48% will vote for) has a 7-point advantage over the Republican candidate (41% will vote for) among these voters.
“Dealing with the rising cost of living is an issue that any smart job candidate will put on the forefront this year,” said Kristen Soltis Anderson, Founding Partner, Echelon Insights. “Particularly in the midterm elections, women voters aged 50 and over will be a critical group for both parties to compete for, and the cost of living is clearly the main issue they want leaders to focus on. .”
“Women 50+ may be the defining group in the 2022 election,” noted Celinda Lake, Founder and President, Lake Research Partners. “They are sure to turn out in large numbers as many other voters disengage. These voters are undecided and dissatisfied with the work their elected leaders are doing, especially on the kitchen table economic issues they face every day.
“Women over 50 can not only be the decision makers in their homes, but also the decision makers in the midterm elections,” said Margie Omero, Principal at GBAO.
“Women over 50 are arguably the largest voting cohort heading into the 2022 midterm elections – and they’re not happy,” said Christine Matthew, President of Bellwether Research. “They are extremely worried about the impact of rising prices – especially of groceries – on their budget and their ability to save for retirement. A majority say the economy is not working for them – an increase significant from two years ago. They want politicians to work together to find solutions to inflation and other key issues, but they are not happy with what they are seeing. Elected officials need to be ready to demonstrate to this key group that they are working productively on cost of living issues.
SURVEY METHODOLOGY: The AARP National Survey was conducted by telephone and online from February 18 to March 3, 2022 using NORC’s Foresight 50+ panel, supplemented by interviews with non-probability panels. The final poll included 1,836 voters ages 50 and older who are likely to vote in 2022, with samples from Black voters, Hispanic/Latino voters, Asian American/Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander voters as well as of Native American/Alaska Native voters. The survey results represent a sample of 984 female voters aged 50 and over. Margin of error of the study: +/- 3.29%.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose their lifestyle as they age. With a national presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and champions what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the most popular publications in the country: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenSpanol @AARPadvocates and @AliadosAdelante on social media.