Metro Weekly

Nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ voters say they’ll “definitely” vote in November

Nearly half of LGBTQ voters report that they are "more motivated" to vote in this year's midterm elections than in 2020.

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Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Nearly two-thirds of registered LGBTQ voters say they’ll definitely vote in November, according to a recent poll by Pathfinder Opinion Research on behalf of the LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD.

The Voter Pulse Poll, which surveyed 1,000 LGBTQ respondents online from Jan. 23-29, sought to measure and track the degree of motivation and enthusiasm toward voting in November, and the key issues of importance to members of the LGBTQ community. Respondents were selected to represent the national LGBTQ population based on demographic estimates published by the Williams Institute, an LGBTQ think tank at the UCLA School of Law, and weighted by gender, age, race, education, and geographic region based on those estimates. The overall credibility interval — a theoretical margin of error for non-probability samples — is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

LGBTQ voters are thought to have provided the edge for the Biden-Harris ticket in 2020, powered by a surge in new voter registrations. According to the survey, about 84% of LGBTQ Americans are registered to vote, and engaging the LGBTQ community to flock to the polls this November could provide the edge for pro-equality candidates in a number of highly contested races. Coupled with recent Gallup polling finding that LGBTQ self-identification among U.S. adults is rising, especially among younger generations, the slice of the electorate that LGBTQ voters comprise is likely to become larger and more influential.

According to the Voter Pulse Poll, 64% of LGBTQ voters say they “definitely” will vote this November, with 19% saying they “probably” will vote. Another 13% may or may not vote, while only 4% either probably or definitely will not vote. About 50%, or half of all LGBTQ voters say they are “extremely motivated” to vote in November’s election.

When compared to the 2020 election, 48% of LGBTQ voters say they are more motivated to vote in this year’s midterms compared to the presidential election of 2020. Fifteen percent say they are less motivated, and 36% say their motivation largely remains the same.

When it comes to the generic ballot, 77% of LGBTQ voters say they’d select the Democratic candidate for Congress if the election were held today, with 15% choosing the Republican candidate for Congress, and 4% choosing “someone else.”

When it comes to important issues that candidates seeking office must address, 32% of LGBTQ voters chose responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as one of their top two selections, while 28% chose jobs and the economy. Nearly one-quarter chose health care as an important issue, while another quarter said the environment and climate change were important. Only 19% of LGBTQ voters selected inflation as an important issue — despite polls of the larger electorate showing inflation is one of the top concerns of voters overall. Eighteen percent of LGBTQ voters picked racial justice as one of their top two issues, with 15% picking voting rights and 11% picking LGBTQ equality specifically.

With respect to President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan, designed to respond to the economic downturn during the pandemic, 73% of LGBTQ voters favor the plan, while 27% oppose it.

Looking at President Biden’s recent nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the U.S. Supreme Court, 50% of LGBTQ voters say they’d be more motivated to vote in November if Biden nominated a progressive, pro-LGBTQ justice for the seat being vacated by retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. Only 6% say they’d be less motivated by a progressive Supreme Court pick. GLAAD hopes to track those numbers in future surveys, with the results likely being determined by the outcome of Jackson’s confirmation hearings.

Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, 74% of LGBTQ adults — not just voters — said they were fully vaccinated, with 3% receiving one dose of vaccine, and 23% remaining unvaccinated. Forty-six, or nearly 1 out of every 2 LGBTQ adults, reported experiencing mental health issues due to the pandemic, while 27% increased their personal debt to make ends meet, 22% involuntarily lost their jobs or had work hours reduced, and 17% changed their living arrangements due to financial reasons. About 1 in 4, or 23% of LGBTQ adults reported having tested positive for COVID-19, with a similar percentage saying they’d lost a friend or family member to the disease.

The poll drops at a time when LGBTQ people, and LGBTQ youth in particular, face hostility in the form of bills being generated primarily by Republican-led state legislatures. Nearly 180 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced this year, with 97 specifically targeting trans people and youth, and 69 seeking to bar LGBTQ content, conversations, and books from classrooms in the name of “parental rights.” Another 27 bills seek to bar transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care, despite opposition from most mainstream medical and mental health organizations.

“GLAAD’s snapshot poll shows LGBTQ people are motivated to vote and ready to make a significant impact on the midterm results,” Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “They also indicated the importance of nominating a pro-equality Supreme Court justice to maintain hard-fought rights. By revealing their top issues of concern, including COVID-19, jobs, healthcare, the environment and racial justice, LGBTQ voters are again showing how our issues are deeply connected to the greater struggles for equality and equity across American society. We are a part of every family, community and neighborhood.

“LGBTQ people and our allies must unite as a powerful voting bloc for positive change and to act as a bulwark against those who oppose our rights,” Ellis added. “LGBTQ voters were critical to the victories of pro-equality candidates up and down the ballot in 2020. We must continue to ensure LGBTQ voices and voters are heard in 2022.”

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