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Unmarried Women: Election-Night Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Progressive Candidates in 2016

December 30, 2014

Unmarried women and other members of the Rising American Electorate (RAE) who plan to vote in 2016 will overwhelmingly support progressive candidates, despite the outcome of this week’s midterm elections. That’s one of many highlights of a new national survey conducted during the week of the election and released today by the Voter Participation Center and Democracy Corps.

The poll revealed that more than 40 percent of the Rising American Electorate (unmarried women, African Americans, Latinos and young voters) disapproved of the President. Their voting rates replicated the 2010 midterm elections and showed a significant drop-off from 2012 presidential-year levels. And yet, come the next presidential race, 2016 likely voters said they will support progressive candidates.

“Our polling shows that unmarried women, RAE members and other traditionally under-represented voters will increase their participation rates and turn out in force for candidates in 2016 who support an economic agenda that works for women and middle class,” said Page Gardner, President of the Voter Participation Center. “What we confirmed in the survey is that the 2014 midterm map was next-to-impossible for progressive candidates, and presidential-year voters turn out at the polls and react very differently than mid-term voters.”

This year, unmarried women represented 21% of all voters, just like in the 2010 midterms. Unmarried women favored Democratic candidates over Republicans by 60 percent to 38 percent, or a margin of 22 points, according to exit polls. In the previous midterms in 2010, by contrast, that margin was only +16. Nonetheless, the margins this year were not enough to counter the wave among other voters.

“The main message of the election and take-away from this election-night poll is surely a call to the Democrats’ national leaders to address this new economy where jobs do not pay enough to live on, working women and men are struggling without help, and good American jobs are not being created while the government is beholden to those with the most money,” said pollster Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps.

When 2014 voters did get a chance to vote on economic policies that would aid working families, their support was clear. Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota all voted to increase the minimum wage in their states. And in New Jersey, measures to guarantee paid sick leave for workers also passed on Election Night.

“The results on Tuesday were reaffirmed in our poll. Unmarried women and the RAE want to move ahead with an economic agenda that includes increases to the minimum wage, paycheck fairness, paid sick days and affordable child care and education,” Gardner said. “That’s a winning combination for 2016 candidates.”


Memo from Democracy Corps on the December 2014 DCorps/VPC survey
Full results from the December 2014 DCorps/VPC survey