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GLAAD POST-ELECTION POLL SHOWS 2M SURGE OF LGBTQ VOTERS IN MIDTERM ELECTIONS
- Updated: May 24, 2023
GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is releasing the findings of its 2022 post midterm election poll of LGBTQ voters measuring turnout, motivations, and LGBTQ impact on the outcomes of the 2022 Midterm Elections across the country.
Results demonstrate LGBTQ voters had considerable impact on the midterm election and suggest that LGBTQ turnout contributed significantly to Democratic performance nationwide and in key U.S. Senate races. The poll of 800 LGBTQ respondents was conducted November 16 — 20, 2022, by Pathfinder Opinion Research.
Read the memo on the poll’s findings here.
The new polling indicates a growing and continued influence in LGBTQ voters determining the outcomes of key races. LGBTQ voters provided the deciding edge for the pro-equality presidential ticket in 2020 with a surge of new registrations. The Williams Institute reported in early 2020 that nine million LGBTQ adults were registered to vote, about 79% of LGBTQ adults. GLAAD’s 2022 Voter Pulse survey conducted in February 2022 indicated 84% of LGBTQ people are registered to vote.
Among LGBTQ voters in the recent midterm, 12% say it was their first time ever voting, approximately 2 million new LGBTQ voters.
Elections this year were underscored by an increasingly hostile climate toward LGBTQ people in state legislatures across the country, with at least 300 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed in 2022, most targeting transgender people and youth, school policy bills including those that ban classroom conversation and books about LGBTQ people like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and bills targeting evidence-based healthcare and sports participation that were drafted without input and against recommendations from every major medical association and leading health authority around the globe.
Voters re-elected four governors who had vetoed or opposed anti-transgender legislation; voters rejected a reported $50million swingstate disinformation ad campaign about transgender youth, and this week, re-elected Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia to the U.S. Senate, days after his opponent released an anti-transgender ad.
POLL KEY FINDINGS ON LGBTQ TURNOUT AND MOTIVATING ISSUES:
- LGBTQ turnout was largely motivated by the desire to restore and protect basic human rights like marriage equality and the right to a safe, legal abortion.
- Nearly two-thirds (63%) say restoring abortion rights is “one of the most important issues” to their personal decision to turn out and vote in the midterm election. Similarly, more than half (55%) say protecting LGBTQ equality is “one of the most important issues” to their decision to participate in the midterm.
- LGBTQ Americans believe these rights remain at risk, with most saying that legislation targeting abortion and transgender rights is likely to continue over the next two years. Eight-in-ten (80%) say it’s likely that “legislation targeting transgender Americans will increase in Congress, state legislatures, and school boards” over the next two years, while 82% say it’s likely that “restrictions on abortion will further increase in many states.”
- Nearly nine-in-ten (87%) LGBTQ adults in the United States indicate they are registered to vote. Of these registered voters, 82% affirm they voted in the recent midterm election.
- Using a conservative estimate of at least 20 million LGBTQ adults living in the United States, the survey results suggest there are more than 17 million registered LGBTQ voters in the country, and that more than 14 million LGBTQ voters turned out to vote in the midterm election. 12% of LGBTQ voters said it was their first time ever voting, a surge of nearly 2 million new LGBTQ voters participating in the midterm election.
- LGBTQ voters heavily supported Democratic candidates in U.S. House and Senate races. Eight-in-ten (81%) say they voted for the Democratic candidate for U.S. House in their district. Similarly, 80% of LGBTQ voters in ten battleground U.S. Senate states say they voted for the Democratic candidate in their Senate race.
- Six-in-ten (60%) LGBTQ adults saw no election related news coverage of LGBTQ issues during the midterm election (40% saw / 60% did not see).
- Among those who saw midterm news coverage of LGBTQ issues, only 29% said the coverage focused on candidates who wanted to protect LGBTQ rights (29% coverage focused mainly on candidates who want to protect LGBTQ rights / 39% coverage focused mainly on candidates who want to restrict LGBTQ rights / 32% coverage focused on both equally).
- Just one-in-four (23%) say the communication they received directly from candidates running for office came mainly from those promoting their support for LGBTQ rights, while 40% received no communication about LGBTQ issues from candidates at all.
- Nearly half say the current political environment and rhetoric about LGBTQ issues in this country are negatively affecting their emotional well-being (46%) or have made them more fearful for their personal safety (48%). This impact is even more profound among transgender Americans – 70% say the current political environment negatively affects their emotional well-being, while 72% say it has made them more fearful for their personal safety.
STATEMENT FROM GLAAD PRESIDENT AND CEO, SARAH KATE ELLIS:
GLAAD’s research shows the growing political power of LGBTQ Americans and the significance of intersectional issues impacting our lives. These high turnout numbers reflect voters’ recognition of their own power and their deep concern over rights being rolled back. LGBTQ people and youth are under increasing attack by politicians and political extremists pushing baseless legislation and harmful rhetoric that leads to real-life violence, but we will not be silenced. With the 2022 midterms behind us we are now focused on the fight at the state and local levels. GLAAD urges media to challenge politicians for facts to support their claims in targeting LGBTQ people, and to include LGBTQ voices from their local communities as LGBTQ-related measures are introduced in any state across the country.
Additional findings and impact:
- Nearly two-thirds (64%) say it is “absolutely essential” for Democrats to “pass federal legislation restoring the right to a safe, legal abortion”, while 57% say it is “absolutely essential” they “pass federal legislation guaranteeing marriage equality.” Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act on December 8, to be signed into law by President Biden next week.
- Enshrining these rights into federal law could result in a significant surge in LGBTQ voter turnout in the 2024 election. Six-in-ten (61%) LGBTQ Americans say that restoring abortion rights this year would make them more likely to vote in 2024. Significantly, this includes 61% of 2022 non-voters. Similarly, 60% say guaranteeing marriage equality would make them more likely to vote in 2024 – including 59% of 2022 non-voters.
- More than four-in-ten say they feel unsafe discussing political issues, including issues related to LGBTQ equality, on social media using their real name (56% safe / 44% unsafe). More than half of transgender respondents (52%) feel unsafe doing this.
This survey was conducted by Pathfinder Opinion Research from November 16-20, 2022 among a sample of n=800 LGBTQ adults in the United States. Within this sample of LGBTQ adults are subsets of registered voters (n=698) and registered voters who indicate they voted in the recent midterm election (n=573). Interviews were conducted online utilizing a national research panel. Data were weighted to accurately reflect the correct composition of this universe by gender identity, sexual orientation, age, race, education, and geographic region based on demographic estimates of this population provided by the Williams Institute and the Census Household Pulse Survey. For this survey, the overall credibility interval (a theoretical margin of error for non-probability samples) is ±3.5%. The credibility interval for subgroups is larger.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
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