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Anger, Anxiety Motivating Voters in 2018

Emotions stir engagement in midterm elections

The political climate has Americans fuming and they report feeling less hopeful and proud heading into the midterm elections.

A national poll conducted for the University of Delaware's Center of Political Communication found emotions driving increased involvement and engagement as November approaches, especially among women and Millennials.

More women than men said they were anxious (50% vs. 40%) and angry (66% vs. 58%) about politics. Women also reported that they are more likely to vote in the midterm elections this fall, with 63% citing anxiety as the reason and 49% saying it was anger that would drive them to the polls.

Presidential approval was 47%, with 53% disapproving of the job President Trump is doing. Only 14% of respondents approve of the job that Congress is doing.

The national poll, conducted by RABA Research, also shows Americans are paying more attention to politics these days, with 49% reporting they are following the news. This is especially so for younger Americans; 61% of those 18 to 29 years old said they are more tuned in—higher than any other age group.

"It's not that women expressed more emotions overall than men, it was that women displayed higher anxiety and anger—two emotions that have been shown in research to motivate political behavior like voting and speaking out," says Lindsay Hoffman, associate director of the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication.

Americans on the whole appear motivated to vote in the midterm elections this November. A total of 90% of respondents said they planned to vote. While still highly engaged, those ages 18 to 29 were less likely to vote in the midterm elections this November (73% compared with approximately 95% for other age groups).

Source: University of Delaware