"OVER AND OVER, WOMEN OF COLOR AND MILLENNIAL WOMEN PRIORITIZED GUN CONTROL, THE COST OF HIGHER EDUCATION, AND WOMEN'S ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE OVER OTHER CONCERNS."
Given that almost 40 percent of American voters do not consider themselves Democrats or Republicans, it's no surprise that pollsters spend so much of election season focused on independent voters. According to the latest Pew research, these voters now account for a bigger share of the electorate than either Republicans or Democrats, who make up 32 percent and 23 percent of the electorate, respectively.
Which means that to win what has to become one of the oddest and most bitter races of all time, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton need to sway the men and women who just don't know whether they want to build a wall around America or stand #StrongerTogether in November. The candidates have to make a case for themselves that will convince them to show up at the polls in November. But how?
The pollsters at American Women, the affiliated research arm of EMILY's List, looked at this critical demographic to assess their concerns and priorities in the upcoming election. The organization surveyed 800 voters, breaking the sample size down by gender (376 men, 424 women) and then further analyzing millennial women (152), women of color (121), and independent women (125).
Unsurprisingly, researchers found that both men and women feel that the most critical issue in this election and for American families is the economy. But when the data is examined further, essential differences reveal themselves. Over and over, women of color and millennial women prioritized gun control, the cost of higher education, and women's access to reproductive health care over other concerns. American Women discovered that 9 of 10 millennial women and women of color favor required background checks and think that people on the terrorist watch list shouldn't be allowed to purchase guns. The evidence is overwhelming: Despite their varied circumstances, independent women voters, young women, and women of color all rank gun violence as a top concern in this election.
"This new research is loud and clear: the number one concern for women is security—economic security for our families, our nation's security from terrorist threats, and personal security from gun violence," says Kate Black, executive director of American Women. The trend could indicate that mass shootings and more widely reported gun violence has had an impact on women, in particular, causing them to rethink their stances on gun laws.
"9 OF 10 MILLENNIAL WOMEN AND WOMEN OF COLOR FAVOR REQUIRED BACKGROUND CHECKS."
American Women found that the second highest issue of importance for women, young women, women of color, and independent women was ensuring equal pay for equal work, a move they believe will better "secure" our economic future. Black stresses that women will show up for candidates who can deliver more than ideology." Ultimately, she says, "[w]omen are ready to vote for leaders who will to take a stand and support real action."
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