The surge of women running for office and becoming politically engaged could reach the millions, and there is no sign of the momentum stopping. Bustle Trends Group, Bustle’s research team which delivers insights designed to help marketers and consumers alike understand what drives millennial women’s decisions, collaborated with VoteRunLead, the largest and most diverse nonpartisan and nonprofit training organization for women to run for office and win, on The American Women’s Political Engagement Poll, a proprietary survey that sheds light on how women really feel about political affiliations leading into the midterm elections, and delves into what motivates their vote and makes them politically engaged. The study reveals insights into where women stand when it comes to fundamental beliefs, public service, movements like #MeToo, and politics. The American Women’s Political Engagement Poll surveyed 1,000 U.S. women aged 18-49, across the political spectrum (29% Democrats, 28% Republicans, and 24% Independents). The poll was conducted February 12-14, 2018, through Pollfish, the world’s leading cross-device survey platform.
Notably, more than one in four (26 percent) of the women polled indicated that they have been motivated to run or become politically engaged because of the 2016 election. Of the women considering running, half of them are interested in running by 2020. If one in four women 18-49 years old in America want to enter the political arena, that is potentially 18 million women who could have ambitions to run for office or become engaged in politics in the coming years.
Women across the political spectrum are considering throwing their hats in the ring to run for office at all levels of local, state, and national office, including women who voted for Donald Trump (25 percent), Latinas (24 percent), black women (16 percent), and white women (12 percent).
Women across the political spectrum are considering throwing their hats in the ring to run for office at all levels of local, state, and national office, including women who voted for Donald Trump (25 percent), Latinas (24 percent), black women (16 percent), and white women (12 percent). As the midterms get closer, Republican and Democratic women are building momentum and hoping to appeal to the next generation of voters. Movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up are helping to re-write the narrative for women and prove that they are influencing elections in new ways.
When it comes to the matters that are most important to women when considering a candidate, 67 percent surveyed, said healthcare was the top issue for them. Healthcare was the top issue no matter the women’s affiliation or who they voted for, proving that healthcare is a pivotal focal point for all parties. Other top issues were education (48 percent) and the economy (43 percent).
The American Women’s Political Engagement Poll, showed that women are savvy, open-minded, and inclusive voters. They support candidates of all genders and backgrounds as long as the candidate’s issues align with their values. Seventy-nine percent of the women polled said that when choosing between similar candidates, they do not take gender into account — 60 percent said they didn’t think or weren’t sure if sexism played a role in the presidential election. The women surveyed valued honesty above all other qualities in a candidate (62 percent). Sixty percent of Democratic respondents, 39 percent of Independents, and 9 percent of Republicans rated Donald Trump’s first year in office as an “F.”
In fact, 29 percent of women who are considering or who are running, said seeing that someone without political experience could run and win, inspired them.
A clear shift and direct result of the 2016 election is that women now feel that political experience is no longer a necessity to run for office or vote for a candidate. Only Independents said that years of political experience was one of their top ranked characteristics for an ideal political candidate (21 percent). In fact, 29 percent of women who are considering or who are running, said seeing that someone without political experience could run and win, inspired them.
“On the precipice of the midterm elections, the Bustle Trends Group and VoteRunLead felt it necessary to come together to educate the American public on what issues matter most to women and what informs their political decision-making,” said Jessica Tarlov, head of Research at Bustle Digital Group. “No one can deny the tremendous impact of the #MeToo movement on American society, but what has been the real impact on American women? Polling thus far has only given us a topline look at the issue of sexual assault and gender on our politics. We’ve taken it further to ensure that we get the real story.”
“Millions of women with political ambition are exactly what our country needs right now,” says Erin Vilardi, founder and CEO of VoteRunLead. “Honesty, hard work and bringing topics like healthcare to the table are all key aspects that women prioritize and consistently offer government, no matter what their political affiliation. Half of the women ready to run want to do so by 2020. And, we’re ready to train them with the right resources to be successful.”
Bustle contributing editor and award-winning multimedia storyteller, Alicia Menendez wrote a feature analyzing the data from The American Women’s Political Engagement Poll. Her piece incorporates interviews with experts and examines key findings such as women of color and Trump supporters are the most likely respondents to say that the results of election inspired them to become more politically engaged or run for office, the partisan divide on the prioritization of “women’s issues,” and the barriers to running that remain highest for women of color. Check out her piece here.
More features will be released surrounding the data in the coming months. The full report, more details on the poll and its methodology can be found here.
Bustle is a part of Bustle Digital Group, publisher of top women’s destinations Elite Daily, Romper, and The Zoe Report. www.Bustle.com
To learn more, visit voterunlead.org
What do you think?
Photo credit: Part of Seitu’s World by Seitu Oronde.