Women candidates certainly made history in the 2018 midterm elections, but women voters did, too: The gender gap was the greatest it has ever been for women voting for the Democratic Party.
Democrats won women’s vote for Congress by 19 points, with 59 percent voting Democrat and 40 percent voting Republican — the largest margin seen in midterm exit polls, according to data from CNN.
The last time the gender gap came anywhere near that level was more than 30 years ago. In 1982, 58 percent of women voted Democrat and 41 percent voted Republican.
Young women made their voices heard as well, with two-thirds of voters younger than 30 voting for Democrats for Congress, compared with 32 percent who voted for Republicans, according to exit polls.
“Voters under the age of 30, relative to their ’14 turnout, are outperforming every other group,” Tom Bonier, a Democratic strategist for TargetSmart, told the Hill. “It’s not just like a presidential year surge where you’re getting younger voters who only vote in presidentials coming out in a midterm. A lot of these young people are voting in their first election period.”
But the swing was, in large part, because of independent women, who voted for Democratic candidates for the House, 56 percent to 39 percent, and white women, who have started voting differently in recent years. This year, they split their vote between Democratic and Republican candidates for the House, but in 2010 and 2014 they preferred Republicans, according to CNN’s exit polling data.
Emily Guskin contributed to this report.