Voters in Ohio headed to the polls this week in the first major primary of the 2022 election season and chose JD Vance. Those Ohioans who turned out on Tuesday probably already knew which box they’d be ticking on the ballot.
Like many Americans, the number of Ohio residents who consider themselves swing voters has been on a steady decline since 2016. That means that in Ohio and other key states, a shrinking number of voters controls the fate of close elections, the races decided by fractions of a percentage that determine the congressional majority and who sits in the White House.
Since 2020, women over the age of 50 have increasingly tuned into politics, with the majority of us not interested in voting for generic red or blue politicians. Instead, we want candidates who are serious about tackling the issues that matter.
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Right now, women across the country are weighing their options to determine who they’ll vote for on Election Day, and with midterms fast approaching, both parties should make it a priority to build a platform that makes a case to the most influential block of voters in the country – older women. And this week’s leak from the Supreme Court on their possible decision to overturn Roe v. Wade could further motivate women of all ages and across the political spectrum this November.
The United States’ older electorate has been especially crucial in recent major elections. In the past two election cycles, women over the age of 50 cast 30% of the vote across the country.
A woman holding a voting badge. iStock
In 2020, we turned out to influence key races in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Wisconsin, battleground states that were decided by as few as 10,000 votes and cemented Democratic victories.
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This year, however, older voters used the ballot box in Virginia, a state that President Joe Biden carried by over ten points in 2020 to turn the tide for Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin gestures after signing a House bill in the conference room at the Capitol Wednesday March 2, 2022, in Richmond, Va.
((AP Photo/Steve Helber))
That goes to show that even though older women make up one of the most powerful coalitions of voters in the nation, most of us decide which party’s candidate to support on a race-by-race basis.
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New data demonstrates that only 17% of women over the age of 50 have decided who they’ll vote for in the upcoming midterm elections. Even the majority of us who already identify with a particular party don’t know who we’ll vote for – only 22% of women who identify as Republicans and 14% of Democrats already know who they’re voting for in November.
While both parties have spent millions of dollars on polling and focus groups to try and win over swing voters in battleground states, the truth is that older women care about common sense issues – we want candidates who are ready to address everyday problems and basic kitchen table issues.
Right now, costs are on the rise around the country, and folks are far more concerned about prices at the pump and putting food on the table than the flavor of the month issues put on party platforms by out-of-touch Washington insiders.
As the November midterms creep closer, both parties have tried to carve out paths towards control in Washington for 2022 and beyond, but so far, candidates from neither party have made a convincing case to women voters.
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If Republicans and Democrats are serious about gaining the support of the older electorate, they’ll need to make everyday issues the centerpiece of their platforms, and they’ll have to put up candidates who stand with us on issues like health care and social security.
On Election Day, we’ll be the difference in races across the country – the time to earn our support is now.
Ellen Walter was Senior Advisor to Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial campaign and is the Founder of the Walter Group, a grassroots campaign organization that focuses on female voters and influencers. Ellen has over 30 years of political experience working on campaigns, in three Congressional offices and in two different administrations at the White House.