Election 2022: LGBTQs Deliver High Midterm Turnout Amid Fears for Personal Safety in Current Climate

By GLAAD |
December 8, 2022

GLAAD's new post-election poll highlights the motivations and concerns of LGBTQ voters in the 2022 midterm election, and also indicates very high LGBTQ turnout. This new polling (conducted November 16—20, 2022 by Pathfinder Opinion Research) suggests that turnout among LGBTQ voters contributed significantly to Democratic performance nationwide and in key U.S. Senate races, including the reelection of Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate in Georgia's runoff election on December 6, the final race of the midterms which expanded the Senate’s pro-equality majority. 

Read the pollster memo here.

LGBTQ turnout was largely motivated by the desire to restore and protect basic human rights like marriage equality and the right to a safe, legal abortion. Nearly two-thirds (63%) say restoring abortion rights is “one of the most important issues” to their personal decision to turn out and vote in the midterm election. Similarly, more than half (55%) say protecting LGBTQ equality is “one of the most important issues” to their decision to participate in the midterm. 

Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act on December 8th, sending the bill to President Biden, who has promised to sign it into law.

LGBTQ Americans believe these rights remain at risk, with most saying that legislation targeting abortion and transgender rights is likely to continue over the next two years. Eight-in-ten (80%) say it’s likely that “legislation targeting transgender Americans will increase in Congress, state legislatures, and school boards” over the next two years, while 82% say it’s likely that “restrictions on abortion will further increase in many states.”


Nearly nine-in-ten (87%) LGBTQ adults in the United States indicate they are registered to vote. Of these registered voters, 82% affirm they voted in the recent midterm election.

Using a conservative estimate of at least 20 million LGBTQ adults living in the United States, these survey results suggest that there are more than 17 million registered LGBTQ voters in the country, and that more than 14 million LGBTQ voters turned out in the recent midterm election. Among the LGBTQ voters in the recent midterm, 12% say it was their first time ever voting. This suggests nearly 2 million new LGBTQ voters participated in the midterm election.

LGBTQ voters heavily supported Democratic candidates in U.S. House and Senate races. Eight-in-ten (81%) say they voted for the Democratic candidate for U.S. House in their district. Similarly, 80% of LGBTQ voters in ten battleground U.S. Senate states say they voted for the Democratic candidate in their Senate race.

Six-in-ten (60%) LGBTQ adults saw no election related news coverage of LGBTQ issues during the midterm election (40% saw / 60% did not see).

Among those who saw midterm news coverage of LGBTQ issues, only 29% said the coverage focused on candidates who wanted to protect LGBTQ rights (29% coverage focused mainly on candidates who want to protect LGBTQ rights / 39% coverage focused mainly on candidates who want to restrict LGBTQ rights / 32% coverage focused on both equally).

Nearly half say the current political environment and rhetoric about LGBTQ issues in this country are negatively affecting their emotional well-being (46%) or have made them more fearful for their personal safety (48%). This impact is even more profound among transgender Americans—70% say the current political environment negatively affects their emotional well-being, while 72% say it has made them more fearful for their personal safety.

Elections this year were underscored by an increasingly hostile climate toward LGBTQ people in state legislatures across the country, with at least 300 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed in 2022, most targeting transgender people and youth, school policy bills including those that ban classroom conversation and books about LGBTQ people like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and bills targeting evidence-based healthcare and sports participation that were drafted without input and against recommendations from every major medical association and leading health authority around the globe. Voters re-elected four governors who had vetoed anti-transgender legislation, and rejected a reported $50 million disinformation ad campaign with false and harmful claims about transgender youth

"GLAAD’s research shows the growing political power of LGBTQ Americans and the significance of intersectional issues impacting our lives," said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "These high turnout numbers reflect voters’ recognition of their own power and their deep concern over rights being rolled back. LGBTQ people and youth are under increasing attack by politicians and political extremists pushing baseless legislation and harmful rhetoric that leads to real-life violence, but we will not be silenced. With the 2022 midterms behind us we are now focused on the fight at the state and local levels. GLAAD urges media to challenge politicians for facts to support their claims in targeting LGBTQ people, and to include LGBTQ voices from their local communities as LGBTQ-related measures are introduced in any state across the country."

Additional findings and impact:

Just one-in-four (23%) say the communication they received directly from candidates running for office came mainly from those promoting their support for LGBTQ rights, while 40% received no communication about LGBTQ issues from candidates at all.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) say it is “absolutely essential” for Democrats to “pass federal legislation restoring the right to a safe, legal abortion,” while 57% say it is “absolutely essential” they “pass federal legislation guaranteeing marriage equality.”

Enshrining these rights into federal law could result in a significant surge in LGBTQ voter turnout in the 2024 election. Six-in-ten (61%) LGBTQ Americans say that restoring abortion rights this year would make them more likely to vote in 2024. Significantly, this includes 61% of 2022 non-voters. Similarly, 60% say guaranteeing marriage equality would make them more likely to vote in 2024 – including 59% of 2022 non-voters.

More than four-in-ten say they feel unsafe discussing political issues, including issues related to LGBTQ equality, on social media using their real name (56% safe / 44% unsafe). More than half of transgender respondents (52%) feel unsafe doing this.

 

About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.

 

 

 

 

 

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