Ground-Breaking National Poll: Most Low-Income Adults Say They Will Vote

10.19.2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           

CONTACT:

Nicole Aber, 646-627-7741

naber@hungerfreeamerica.org

 

Messages About Community Power Can Further Increase Turnout

 

Anti-Hunger Advocates Will Use Messaging for National Mobilization Campaign

Eighty percent of low-income Americans say they are certain or likely to vote in the upcoming election, according to a new nationwide poll commissioned by Hunger Free America.

Of the 5,114 American adults with annual household incomes of $50,000 or below who responded, 68 percent said they are “certain” to vote in this general election and another 12 percent said they are “very likely” to do so. 

Given that less than 60 percent of similarly low-income American adults voted in the presidential elections of 2012 and 2016, this new data points to much higher than average turnout this year among Americans who are struggling economically.

“This new data indicates that low-income Americans are poised to turn-out to vote this year at the highest levels in decades, even accounting for the likelihood that at least some people who said they are certainly or likely to vote won’t end up doing so,” said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a national, nonpartisan direct service and advocacy organization. “This increased voter engagement is a great sign for our democracy.”

The poll was conducted on behalf of Hunger Free America, by Kupersmit Research, a Colorado-based strategic research firm, over the last two weeks, using a random online survey with the Dynata Online Panel. It is one of the most extensive surveys in recent years focusing on the voting and non-voting habits of low-income Americans. The complete poll questions and findings can be found at: https://www.hungerfreeamerica.org/votermobilizationpoll

Benjamin Kupersmit, president of Kupersmit Research, said, “This vital new data raises hope that low-income Americans will vote at historic rates and dispel the myth that it is impossible to motivate them to participate in the political system. Targeted messaging can energize even more people who are struggling to vote and exert their power.”

The survey inquired more deeply into the views of 633 respondents who indicated that they might not vote or definitely would not vote this year, asking both why they thought many Americans don’t vote and what specific pro-voting messages would be the most likely to motivate them to vote. Hunger Free America will use these findings to craft the messaging in its ongoing, nonpartisan campaign to mobilize voting among low-income adults nationwide.

The survey determined that the top reasons people thought that many Americans didn’t vote were: “One vote out of millions does not matter,” “the richest few have all the power so there is no point in voting,” and “voting never changes anything.”

The survey found that the two most compelling messages to counter those anti-voting messages were the phrases: “Lots of us together have more power than each of us on our own” and “It’s now quicker, easier and safer to vote by mail or vote early in most states.” More than 60 percent of low-income respondents who were infrequent or non-voters found each of those messages compelling.

Berg continued, “Many entities have previously asked people why they don’t vote, so we tried to run a survey that tried to find messages to convince people to vote. These findings reinforce what we previously knew: Americans living in or near poverty are rational political actors who will become more active in our political system when they understand their full collective power.”

One in three respondents previously not likely to vote said that merely hearing the arguments for voting in the survey – including an explanation of how previous election outcomes prompted social progress – made it more likely for them to vote. Here are a few examples of how they explained that change:

  • “I figured that just one vote won't change anything, but now I see it lets my voice be heard. It lets the government know where I stand and it gives me a voice.”
  • “Made me look into how other people would feel if I wouldn’t have voted.”
  • “There is more in voting than just landing someone a job.”
  • “Looking at what was stated, voting does and has brought on big change.”
  • “Because some of the viewpoints that I read were moving to a point but put them all together and I can see a bigger picture. What is 5 minutes out of my day?”
  • “If I'm not part of the solution, then I’m part of the problem.”

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