WASHINGTON, DC -- A new poll of voters in 18 battleground states found that the issues of women’s health and economic security for women and families are the top motivators for key groups of voters.  Potential drop-off voters, who tend to vote in presidential years and stay home for midterm elections, are highly receptive to messaging about the adverse consequences of not voting, especially when connected to economic security for women and families and ongoing threats to women’s access to health care like birth control and abortion.

What’s more, swing voters find messages about protecting access to safe and legal abortion and affordable birth control among the most convincing reasons to vote for pro-women’s health candidates. In addition to turning out base voters, these messages are also compelling to swing voters – critical to winning battleground Senate races in 2014.

The poll was commissioned by Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, EMILY’s List and American Women.

You can view the full poll here: https://womenarewatching.org/sites/default/files/9-9-14-poll.pdf 

“This poll confirms what we’re hearing from voters as our supporters knock doors and make phone calls in key states: issues like access to birth control and abortion will get voters to the polls this November,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “This poll confirms that not only will women’s health issues get voters to the polls on election day, but that they’ll vote for the candidates who stand up for women.  That’s why Planned Parenthood Action Fund will spend every day between now and November 4th working to make sure these folks know where the candidates stand on women’s access to affordable birth control, to basic health care, and to safe and legal abortion.”

You can learn more about Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s largest ever advocacy and politicalWomen are Watching campaign here.

“Women across the country sent a strong message when they elected an historic number of Democratic women in 2012 – the message was that they wanted leaders who are committed to giving them a fair shot. In 2014 women voters have made it clear that they won’t stand for attacks on their economic security or their reproductive healthcare,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List. “The Republican Party’s relentless assault on women’s rights and freedoms is backfiring, and as long as they continue to ignore the real needs of working families, the gulf between them and women voters will only continue to grow.”

“Throughout this election cycle, it’s evident that voters are looking to get ahead, not just get by,” saidKate Black, Executive Director of American Women. “It’s women’s economic security issues that are key motivators for voters – issues like ending gender discrimination in pay, raising the minimum wage and making sure women can take the time they need to care for themselves or their families through policies like paid sick days and paid family leave.”

According to the poll:

  • Reproductive rights are also a motivating factor for progressive base drop off voters, particularly when framed in the light of what anti-women’s health politicians are trying to take away. Drop-off voters were motivated by the chance to vote against anti-choice politicians (70% very motivating), even more so than they were by the chance to vote for pro-choice ones (66% very motivating). 
  • Progressive base drop-off voters become more enthusiastic and more likely to vote after hearing messages on women’s health and economic security for women and families. After voters hear a series of motivational messages – the most motivating of which are about women’s health and economic security for women and families – the percent of voters who rank their enthusiasm for voting this fall at a 5 or less out of 10 plummets from 23% to 12%. And by the end of a survey, we see a four-point gain in the percent of drop-off voters who now say they are “almost certain” to vote in November (from 63% to 67%).
  • The negative consequences of not voting, especially threats to middle class economic stability, are extremely motivating to base drop-off voters.  The idea that if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the policies you don’t like, resonated with these voters. Particularly motivating was the idea that sitting at home means missing out on a chance to demand a raise in the minimum wage or an end to gender discrimination in pay.
  • The same positive messages that worked with drop-off base voters resonate with swing voters. Once again, messaging on a woman’s right to choose (44% convincing) and raising the minimum wage (39% very convincing) were the top testing reasons to vote for a Democrat, albeit with less intensity, for these likely voters.
  • Swing voters move towards a pro-woman’s health and economic security candidate on the generic ballot after our messaging on women’s health and economic security for women and families. After swing voters hear both progressive and conservative messages – the most persuasive of which are about women’s health and economic security for women and families –  we move from 37% Democratic / 32% Republican on the generic ballot to 44% Democratic / 35% Republican, for a net gain of four points towards a Democrat.