A Growing Gender Divide Among Young Voters

November 18, 2022

Line chart showing percentage of Democratic vote for women and men age 18-29.

Young voters were key to the Democratic Party’s surprising performance in the 2022 midterm elections. However, there was a pronounced gender gap young voters’ candidate preference. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of young women voted for a Democrat compared to more than half (54 percent) of young men, an 18-point difference. After Dobbs, abortion became an extraordinarily salient issue during the 2022 campaign, especially for young women. Yet, it might not be entirely responsible for the widening divide. The gender gap in political preference grew considerably after Donald Trump’s election in 2016. As noted in a recent American Storylines newsletter, “Before Trump, Democratic candidates averaged around 60 percent of the vote among young women. That number rose to 70 percent in the years following his election.”

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