WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Intersections of Our Lives released new polling data that demonstrates the growing power of Black, Latina, Asian American and Pacific Islander women voters. This new research follows the 2018 midterm election where women of color voted at historic levels. Intersections of Our Lives is a collaborative of three Reproductive Justice organizations: National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health; In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda; and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

The poll demonstrates that women of color voters are overwhelmingly concerned about the state of the country (75 percent) and believed that the stakes were too high not to vote in the 2018 election (88 percent). Importantly, a majority of women of color are paying close attention to the actions of their elected officials and want to see progress made on the issues they care about – including access to clean water, access to affordable health care, and ending racial discrimination.

“Our national survey findings make it clear that women of color are a powerful voice in the electorate that shouldn’t be ignored – we are paying attention and participating in our democracy at higher rates than ever before,” said Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

“The poll confirms what we have known all along: that women of color perceive policies intersectionally and that our collective experiences motivate us to demand that our elected officials act now for justice and equity for our communities,” said Marcela Howell, President and Founder of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda.

“Intersections of Our Lives is committed to ensuring women of color have a strong voice in our nation and we are dedicated to holding elected officials accountable for addressing the issues and barriers that millions of women of color around the country face every single day,” said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

The key findings from the nationwide poll include:

What Motivated Women of Color to Vote

  • 88 percent of women of color voters said the stakes in the 2018 midterm election were too high not to vote.
  • 75 percent expressed serious concerns about the trajectory of the country, noting they were angry, disgusted, scared, sad or nervous.
  • 74 percent of women of color voters doubt that the country will be safe for the next generation, with Black women having the strongest concerns.

Women of Color Were Concerned Their Vote Didn’t Count  

  • 23 percent of women of color voters do not think their vote was counted accurately.
  • 33 percent of women of color voters experienced an issue voting, such as being asked to show an ID to an election official.

How Women of Color Voted and What They Thought About the Candidates

  • Three-quarters of women of color voters supported the Democratic candidates in statewide and federal races.
  • One-in-five women of color voters supported Republican candidates in statewide and federal races.
  • Women of color said that they voted for candidates because they felt a need for change and because the candidates reflected their values.
    • 37 percent of women of color who voted for a Democratic member of Congress said their vote represented a need for change.
    • 28 percent of women of color who voted for a Republican member of Congress did so to reflect their values.
  • 74 percent of the women of color who voted for Democrats said Democratic candidates earned their vote. They did not vote for the Democrat as a reaction to or a rejection of the alternative.
  • 71 percent of women of color voters felt satisfied with the candidates they had to choose from in the 2018 election. Yet they would prefer to see more women of color candidates and candidates acknowledging the issues they care about.

What Women of Color Want Congress to Focus On

  • While the priorities of women of color are not monolithic, common ground exists. The top issues women of color want to see members of Congress make progress on over the next two years include:
    • Ending racial/ethnic/cultural discrimination (62 percent)
    • Ensuring people with pre-existing conditions can still access health insurance (62 percent)
    • Ensuring access to clean water (62 percent)
    • Ensuring everyone has access to affordable health care (60 percent)
  • 84 percent of women of color voters believe candidates should support women making their own decisions about their reproductive health.
  • 62 percent of women of color voters say they will be watching their elected officials in Congress more closely compared to previous elections.

There are 63 million women of color living in the United States today and over the next four decades the community is expected to almost double. This growing population is becoming an increasingly strong voice in the electorate, with post-election data demonstrating women of color voting at higher rates in the 2018 election than in past midterm elections. In fact, an analysis by TargetSmart of states where turnout data is available found that in Florida the number of women of color who voted grew by more than 70 percent, from representing 13 percent of voters in 2014 to 17 percent in 2018. And in Texas, the number of women of color who voted more than doubled from 2014 to 2018 and grew from representing 12 percent of voters in 2014 to 15.4 percent in 2018.

The poll, which was conducted by SKDKnickerbocker, included interviews of 2,663 adult women who identify as Black or African American, Hispanic, Latino, of a Spanish-speaking background, Asian American or Pacific Islander and who voted in the 2018 midterm elections. The interviews were conducted between January 23 and February 14, 2019. The survey was made available in English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean and was administered online and by telephone.

Further insights on the poll are available below:

ABOUT INTERSECTIONS OF OUR LIVES

Intersections of Our Lives is a collaborative of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda (In Our Own Voice), and National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), three women-of-color led national Reproductive Justice organizations with both federal and statewide presence.