“Equality Voters” delivered huge margins to pro-equality Democrats up and down the ballot, pushing back against extremism and defying pre-election predictions of a massive “red wave”
WASHINGTON – New polling released today by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — shows that the 2022 election defied pre-election predictions of a massive “red wave” in no small measure because Equality Voters pushed back against extremism and voted to protect commonly held values and our democracy.
Across the country, election deniers and right-wing extremists lost winnable elections because they advocated views that are out-of-touch with average voters, particularly the huge number of Equality Voters who made the critical difference up and down the ballot. Equality Voters are a group of voters modeled to support LGBTQ+ equality, numbering 62 million nationwide. They represented 39 percent of the 2022 electorate—a number that reflects the growing political strength of this voting bloc—and tend to be younger and more racially diverse than the electorate as a whole.
“Republicans lost because they nominated extreme candidates, conspiracy theorists, and far-right radicals who advocated extreme positions, including attacks on an LGBTQ+ community that grows more politically powerful every election cycle,” said Joni Madison, Human Rights Campaign Interim President. “As Sen. Mitch McConnell said earlier this week, Republicans’ negativity and excessive attacks were rejected by independent and moderate Republican voters. They didn’t generate the landslide they were betting on, thanks to the historic turnout of pro-equality, pro-democracy, and pro-choice voters who showed up to the polls in record numbers to reject extremism and deliver a series of victories for pro-equality candidates, including historic victories for LGBTQ+ candidates, women, and candidates of color.”
Equality Voters delivered huge margins to Democrats at every level of the ballot.
- At the U.S. House level, 81 percent of Equality Voters supported the Democratic candidate. Equality Voters delivered similar margins for Democratic U.S. Senate candidates and Democratic candidates for governor.
- This number is comparable to the level of support Equality Voters gave Joe Biden two years ago (also 81 percent) and nearly matches the level of support Black voters delivered this cycle (87 percent).
- Among self-identified LGBTQ+ voters, who made up a midterm record 7 percent of the 2022 electorate, fully 80 percent supported U.S. House Democrats. LGBTQ+ voters delivered similar margins for Democratic U.S. Senate candidates and Democratic candidates for governor.
Dobbs and Trump defined Republican extremism for many voters, but anti-equality issues and attacks on marginalized people also defined right-wing radicalism this year.
- Among voters who voted against Republicans, a majority identify either abortion, support for Trump and election denial as the most important reason for doing so.
- Attacks on people of color and LGBTQ+ people rank next on this list.
As predicted, right-wing efforts to spread propaganda about and attack transgender people failed.
- In this survey, we asked voters which specific issues motivated them to vote this year. Inflation (52 percent) and abortion (29 percent) rank first and second on this list.
- Less than 5 percent identify gender affirming care for transgender youth or transgender participation in sports as issues motivating them to vote, last on this list.
- This confirms extensive research prior to the election that found anti-transgender attacks were only effective in riling up extreme members of the conservative base, which is why the attacks were so prominent in paid media during Republican primaries.
- While the attacks were ineffective with the general electorate and in fact repelled swing voters, they still caused harm, including increasing stigma, discrimination, and violence against the transgender community.
Voters will tolerate no retreat on marriage.
- With this week’s pivotal U.S. Senate votes on marriage equality underway, a convincing 61 percent of 2022 voters in this fairly conservative, midterm electorate support Congress passing a law to protect the federal right to same-sex marriage.
- This majority includes 67 percent of Independent voters, 54 percent of voters over age 50, 62 percent of non-college women, and, of course, a resounding 81 percent of Equality Voters.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.