The 2022 Election Obscured Huge Shifts Away from Democrats Compared to 2018

“The left is losing the battle for younger voters and minorities – constituencies that will wield more power in the near future.”

Despite the decisive Republican victory some analysts predicted failing to materialize last year, the 2022 election showed a marked shift away from Democrats among core Democratic constituencies compared to 2018. In addition, the GOP continued to gain with non-college voters and rural voters and ate into Democratic margins with suburbanites.

Market Research Foundation recently noted the 7-point shift away from Democrats among Zoomers between 2018 and 2022, something the mainstream has downplayed. Young people are not the only group Democrats are driving away, however. CNN exit polls show Democrats also lost ground with women, younger voters, voters of color, moderates, and independents while the GOP widened its grasp of non-college voters and ate into Democrat’s margins with suburban voters.

One of the more startling shifts away from Democrats in 2022 compared to 2018 was among women. Despite many left-wing candidates making abortion a central campaign issue, women shifted right by 11 points. In 2018, exit polls show Democrats won women by 19 points, but that margin dropped to just 8 points in 2022. White women ended up supporting Republicans by eight points in 2022, but were evenly split between the parties in 2018.

Exit polls show that abortion played a lesser role in 2022 than Democrats may have hoped. GOP House candidates won nearly all voters who oppose abortion, but also picked up a quarter of voters who said abortion should be legal.

Market Research Foundation recently noted the shift toward the GOP among voters under thirty, but older Millennials and younger Gen X voters also saw a significant shift toward the right. As shown below, Democrats lost 15 points with voters 30 to 44, while the GOP increased their margins with voters over 45 years old.

Voters of color also shifted away from Democrats last year compared to 2018, with a particularly steep decline among Hispanics. Democrats lost 21 points with Latino men, going from winning them by 29 points in 2018 to 8 points in 2022. Latino women also supported Democrats by 14 points less in 2022 than 2018.

Race and gender 2022

Democrats lost 11 points with Black men, who supported Democrats by 76 points in 2018 and 65 points in 2022. Black women supported Democrats by 7 points less last year as well.

Moderates and Independents both moved away from the Democratic Party in 2022, shifting right by 11 points and 10 points, respectively.

Democrats also suffered losses with urban and suburban voters. Despite still winning urban voters by 17 points, Democrats suffered a 16 point loss with urban voters compared to 2018. Democrats went from tying with the GOP for suburbanites in 2018 to losing them by 6 points in 2022, and rural voters shifted even further right by 15 points.

urban rural vote 2022

The 2022 election was far from a victory for the GOP. If anything, the takeaway is that even with embarrassingly underfunded conservative candidates Democrats are losing ground. The left is losing the battle for younger voters and minorities –constituencies that will wield more power in the near future. Millennials, Gen X and Gen Z voters all shifted toward the right between 2018 and 2022. Hispanic voters, a rapidly growing demographic, also shifted significantly toward the right.