2022 midterm elections

Democrats, Young Voters Have Closed the Enthusiasm Gap 4 Months Before 2022 Midterms

Millennials, Gen Z’ers, and older Democrats are more engaged than they were before two months of high-profile Supreme Court rulings, mass shootings, and congressional hearings.

Republicans no longer hold an advantage in voter enthusiasm over Democrats heading into the 2022 midterm elections, according to new polling from Morning Consult and Politico.

The latest data, which shows a surge in interest among Democratic and independent voters, comes after two months of intense political debate over abortion access, gun rights, and public hearings on the January 6 Capitol riots.

The percentage of Democrats who said they were “extremely enthusiastic” or “very enthusiastic” about voting this fall jumped from 50% in a Morning Consult/Politico April poll to 57% in their June 24-25 poll.  That brings Democrats into a statistical tie with Republicans (58% extremely/very enthusiastic), who had held a significant enthusiasm advantage over the past year.

The Supreme Court broadly expanded Americans’ right to carry guns outside their homes on June 23, and overturned the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade precedent on abortion access on June 24.

Overall, 52% of Americans say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this fall - up from 47% in April.  That includes 44% of independent voters who now express a great deal of enthusiasm, up from just 33% in April.

The increase in midterm enthusiasm was even more pronounced among young adults, with Millennials (1981-1996) and Gen Z adults (1997-2004) posting 13% and 12% increases, respectively.  Previous polling revealed young adults had grown especially frustrated and disengaged from the political process since November 2020, leading to significant dropoffs in turnout for several 2021 and 2022 elections so far.

Republicans, meanwhile, who saw a small bump in midterms enthusiasm after the initial leak of the Supreme Court’s draft abortion opinion (to 61%), saw enthusiasm slip a bit in June (to 58%).  Seventy percent of Republican men indicated they were extremely or very enthusiastic about voting in the midterms, compared to just 47% of Republican women.

The polls’ margins of error were two percent for the entire 2,000-plus respondent panel, with margins for smaller demographic groups ranging from 3% to 7%.

Noah Pransky is LX News’ National Political Editor. He covers Washington and state politics for LX News, and his investigative work has been honored with national Murrow, Polk, duPont, and Cronkite awards. You can contact him confidentially at noah.pransky@nbcuni.com or on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.