Author: Center for American Progress (CAP) | Date: 21 November 2019
Since 2000, the number of eligible women of color voters has increased by 59 percent—a gain of more than 13 million potential voters. Black, Latina, Native American, Multiracial, and Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women voters (AANHPI) are emerging as a collective powerhouse. Yet, pollsters, politicians, and political candidates rarely give them the attention they deserve and frequently don’t recognize their electoral power.
In “Women of Color: A Powerhouse in the U.S. Electorate,” authors Danyelle Solomon and Connor Maxwell use new survey data to explore the voter eligibility, electoral participation, and distinct interracial and intraracial policy perspectives of women of color. The report explores a host of issues from health care and economic inequality to public safety, racial and gender discrimination, and immigration.
“In the past decade, the voter-eligible population of women of color increased six times faster than that of white women, yet candidates, journalists, and policymakers rarely acknowledge their ability to affect elections,” said Solomon, vice president of Race and Ethnicity Policy at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the report. “Women of color are the canaries in the coal mine. When you center them in your policymaking agenda, outcomes for all Americans will improve. Continuing to ignore the policy priorities of this powerhouse of voters will only further undermine the health of our democracy and further exacerbate racial and gender inequalities.”
“This report affirms what we already know: Women of color are an important—and growing—catalyst for change in our democracy,” said Aimee Allison, founder and president of She the People. “The issues that are most important to us, from health care and immigration reform to creating a more inclusive economy, are the foundation for a more equitable and just nation.”
Below are key findings from the groundbreaking report.
Black women voters:
- Black women constitute the largest and most politically active demographic of women of color voters. At least 15 million Black women are voting-age U.S. citizens. Black women typically turn out to vote at higher rates than any other group of women.
- Black women see government as playing a critical role in expanding access to affordable health care. Eighty percent of Black women voters believe that it should be the responsibility of the federal government to make sure that all Americans have health care coverage.
- Black women voters are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group of women to support a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants.
- More than 4 in 5 Black women overall think gun laws should be stricter. Approximately 73 percent of Black women gun owners favor stricter gun laws, compared with 66 percent of white women who do not own guns.
- Since 2000, the citizen voting-age population of Latinas increased by 89 percent—from 7.1 million to 13.5 million.
- More than 3 in 5 of all Latina voters—conservatives, moderates, and progressives—believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
- The Trump administration’s overall approach to immigration policy is at odds with Latina voters’ views and priorities. Large majorities of Latinas oppose President Donald Trump’s handling of immigration and border security.
- More than 3 in 4 Latina voters (78 percent) believe that the current system overly favors the wealthy, and 76 percent believe that it doesn’t favor low-income Americans enough.
- Since 2000, the citizen voting age population of AANHPI women grew faster than any other group.
- Almost all AANHPI women voters report discomfort with economic inequality and a desire for better wages and working conditions. A majority of AANHPI women also oppose the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cuts for large corporations and the wealthy; believe the administration’s trade policy will hurt the national economy; and disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the economy in general.
- Many AANHPI women voters are concerned that the Trump administration has undermined public safety in the United States. Forty-eight percent think the administration has made Americans less safe from terrorism, and 57 percent think the administration has made Americans less safe from crime.
AI/AN women voters:
- AI/AN women constitute a substantial share of the female citizen voting-age population in key states, particularly in New Mexico and Alaska.
- Immigration stands out as a top issue for AI/AN women. More than 7 in 10 AI/AN women support a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants.
- More than 4 in 5 AI/AN women (83 percent) are concerned about the use of opioids such as prescription pain medications and drugs such as heroin and fentanyl in their community.
Multiracial women voters:
- Multiracial women are among the fastest-growing segments of the female electorate; the citizen voting-age population of multiracial women has increased by 82 percent since 2000.
- Multiracial women consistently turn out at the second-highest rate among women of color.
- Voter turnout among multiracial women has exceeded that of Latinas, AANHPI women, and AI/AN women in each of the past six national elections.