Women comprise a powerful voting bloc. Not only were 70% registered to vote as of November 2022 (compared to 68.2% of men), but women also control an estimated 70-80% of consumer spending. And after years of being perceived as voting with their husbands, women are now seen as crucial swing voters who may actually influence their husband’s votes. That means politicians and political strategists spend money and airtime trying to understand and win their votes.
That’s great news, because when it comes to our current policies and politics, women have a lot of notes.
Ahead of each major election, as part of our ongoing Skimm the Vote campaign, theSkimm surveys our readers — who belong to that powerful demographic — to gauge which issues are most important to them and how they are feeling about the election in general.
This year’s survey, conducted almost exactly a year before Election Day 2024, revealed some things we expected: People are nervous about a likely Biden-Trump rematch. Overall, Democrats (61% of respondents) and Republicans (14% of respondents) have opposing policy priorities. But on a few key issues, they align across party lines. The responses also suggest that continuing to shelve legislation that supports mothers is… not a recipe for future political success. Let’s dive in.
Democrats Are Anxious. Almost No One Is Hopeful.
The majority of Skimm readers are not feeling great heading into the election year. Sixty-one percent told us they’re anxious, 18% said they feel let down, and 8% are turned off. That’s not a huge change from last year, when 64% of Skimm readers reported feeling anxious about the 2022 midterm elections. Overall, only 5% of Skimm readers said they felt hopeful.
So why do women feel so bad about 2024? We’ll be talking to readers a lot over the next 11 months to answer this question and more.
One bright — or at least less dark — spot: 65% told us they think the country’s headed in the wrong direction, compared to 85% ahead of the 2022 midterms. (A win is a win.)
But Skimm readers also told us who they felt weren’t winning: women.
Skimm Readers Don’t Think Their Representatives Support Women
Eighty-three percent of Skimm readers told us they don’t believe lawmakers are making decisions or enacting policies that support women. Eighty-three percent. And this sentiment is shared across party lines: The majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents agreed that lawmakers aren’t supporting women.
This data echoes the results of the State of Women study theSkimm published in March in partnership with The Harris Poll. Of the 4,500 women surveyed, 65% agreed, “new laws being passed don’t advance women’s rights.” The new poll data also reflects the lingering impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs ruling, which dissolved the federal right to abortion, and of subsequent attempts to restrict abortion at the state level.
Here's what some of our survey respondents had to say about why they don’t feel supported by their elected representatives:
“They are not supporting women's rights over their own bodies, they are not working toward equal pay, they are not helping enough with day care and mental health issues.” - Julie DeStefanis, independent, Florida.
“Lawmakers are not supporting maternal health, body autonomy or investing enough in access to childcare.” - Lauren Jenkins, Democrat, New York.
Female Voters Are Divided By Party on Which Issues Matter Most
Republican and Democrat priorities diverged widely, most of all on the economy and the job market, which 40% of Republicans told us they’re most worried about, versus only 8% of Democrats. Only 3% of Republicans marked climate change as their top issue, compared to 15% of Democrats. 17% of Democrats marked gun laws as their top issue, while only 8% of Republicans did.
…but Republicans Are Also Worried About Reproductive Rights
When we polled Skimm readers a month before the 2022 midterm elections, they told us that reproductive rights were their top issue. One year later, they feel the same way. Heading into 2024, 27% said reproductive rights were their top priority, and that was not exclusive to one party.
While the majority of survey respondents were Democrats, and Democrats ranked the issue far more important than Republicans, 12% of Republican respondents said reproductive rights are the most important issue for them – many ranking it as important as foreign policy.
Most Republican Readers Want Haley to Win
Given the high proportion of Democrats in our survey, it’s not surprising that half of respondents said they want President Biden to win reelection. A full 24% said that they’re not a fan of any of the options.
Among Republicans, however, things get interesting. GOP readers support Nikki Haley over former President Trump by 6 points. Skimm readers overall would prefer Haley to Trump.
Current national polls have Trump polling higher than Haley. (Note: We conducted the survey before a super PAC funded by billionaire Charles Koch endorsed Haley.)
Over 30% of Skimm Readers Think Trump Will Win Again
64% of Democrats want Biden to win, and the same percentage think he will. However, 26% of Democrats think Trump will win again.
Among Republicans, 48% think Trump will win re-election, but only 21% want him to.
Overall, 57% think that Biden is likely to keep the oval office.
Democrats and Republicans Support a Presidential Age Limit
As the two front runners in next year's race are also two of the oldest presidents to hold office in history, Skimm readers said it’s time to pass the torch. The U.S. Constitution sets a minimum age of 35 to run for president in the US, but 67% of Skimm readers told us there should be a maximum age too.
Although the majority of Skimm readers are fed up with the lack of policies for women and are feeling pretty anxious ahead of next year’s election, 90% told us they still plan to show up at the polls. That’s consistent with US Census data showing that in 2020, 68.4% of registered female voters voted, compared to 65% of male registered voters. Hope the candidates who want those votes are listening.
Sign up for the Daily Skimm email newsletter. Delivered to your inbox every morning and prepares you for your day in minutes.