New polling released November 17 by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) shows the 2022 election defied pre-election predictions of a massive “red wave” in no small measure because equality-minded voters pushed back against extremism and voted to protect commonly held values and our democracy.
Across the country, election deniers and right-wing extremists lost winnable elections because they advocated views that are out-of-touch with average voters, particularly the huge number of equality-minded voters who made the critical difference up and down the ballot. Polls show that equality-minded voters support LGBTQ+ equality and number around 62 million nationwide.
They represented 39 percent of the 2022 electorate—a number that reflects the growing political strength of this voting bloc—and tend to be younger and more racially diverse than the electorate as a whole.
“Republicans lost because they nominated extreme candidates, conspiracy theorists, and far-right radicals who advocated extreme positions, including attacks on an LGBTQ+ community that grows more politically powerful every election cycle,” said Joni Madison, Human Rights Campaign Interim President.
At the U.S. House level, 81 percent of equality-minded voters supported the Democratic candidate. Equality-minded voters delivered similar margins for Democratic U.S. Senate candidates and Democratic candidates for governor.
This number is comparable to the level of support the same voters gave Joe Biden two years ago (also 81 percent) and nearly matches the level of support Black voters delivered this cycle (87 percent).
Among self-identified LGBTQ+ voters, who made up a midterm record seven percent of the 2022 electorate, fully 80 percent supported U.S. House Democrats. LGBTQ+ voters delivered similar margins for Democratic U.S. Senate candidates and Democratic candidates for governor.
Dobbs and Trump defined Republican extremism for many voters, but anti-equality issues and attacks on marginalized people also defined right-wing radicalism this year.
Among voters who voted against Republicans, a majority identify either abortion, support for Trump and election denial as the most important reason for doing so.
Attacks on people of color and LGBTQ people rank next on list
As predicted, right-wing efforts to spread propaganda about and attack transgender people failed.
In this survey, HRC asked voters which specific issues motivated them to vote this year. Inflation (52 percent) and abortion (29 percent) rank first and second on this list.
Less than five percent identify gender affirming care for transgender youth or transgender participation in sports as issues motivating them to vote, last on this list.
While the attacks were ineffective with the general electorate and in fact repelled swing voters, they still caused harm, including increasing stigma, discrimination, and violence against the transgender community.
Voters will tolerate no retreat on marriage
With a pivotal U.S. Senate vote on marriage equality underway, a convincing 61 percent of 2022 voters in this fairly conservative, midterm electorate support Congress passing a law to protect the federal right to same-sex marriage. This majority includes 67 percent of Independent voters, 54 percent of voters over age 50, 62 percent of non-college women and a resounding 81 percent of equality-minded voters.
An earlier poll released in October by HRC revealed just how much voting power the LGBTQ community has in sheer numbers. In the 2022 Midterm election, LGBTQ+ identified people account for one in ten (11.3 percent) of people in the voting eligible population in the United States. Younger generations are much more likely to identify as LGBTQ, including 27 percent of Generation Z (born 1997-2003); 15.6 percent of Millennials born 1981-1996; 7.6 percent of Generation X (born 1965-1980; 4.6 percent of Boomers (born 1946-1964); and 4.9 percent of Traditionalists (born 1934-1945).