FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AUGUST 4, 2020
New York, N.Y., — Today, Supermajority released a report examining how low propensity women of color voters feel about an array of issues including Biden’s vice-presidential pick, the handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, voting during this time, the economy, universal healthcare, and childcare. The report included extensive qualitative research, drawing on in-depth interviews, online focus groups, and online community research conducted between June 20 and July 5, 2020, with Black, Latina, Asian American Pacific Islander and Native American women from Michigan, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas.
“The trifecta of coronavirus, the economic collapse, and racial injustice, are creating unprecedented challenges that women of color experience simultaneously, and it’s clear that women of color respondents want a leader who will take immediate action and address their needs, said Juanita Tolliver, Political Director of Supermajority. “Considering that women of color have played, and will continue to play, a large role in the 2020 election, their voices and their needs must be heard and addressed.”
A crucial finding of the study is that participants were explicitly clear that Joe Biden’s VP pick would be a major contributor in their decision of whether or not to vote in the 2020 election, making the VP selection crucial for winning the White House. With women of color representing one-third of eligible voters, the focus group comes at a time where candidates are looking for ways to turn this cohort out at the polls.
Additional key findings include:
- Women of Color respondents know very little about Biden, but once they learn about his personal background and his record as a public servant their enthusiasm increases. Biden’s biography and family story are compelling, particularly hearing about the tragedy of his late wife and daughter. It humanizes him and creates a shared understanding that Biden has experienced hardship and loss. Biden’s Congressional record also conveys important signals about his character and effectiveness to this group. The participants respond to the following pieces of information: Biden being inspired to serve as a public defender by the examples of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy (viewed very positively by Black women); Biden’s authoring of the Violence Against Women Act; Biden’s work with Barack Obama to help pass the Economic Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act; and Biden standing up for marriage equality at a time when few politicians were willing to do so (this was a compelling argument for younger participants in particular).
- The potential of having a woman of color on the ticket boosts excitement among younger participants. Respondents expressed that having a VP candidate of color who complements Biden’s strengths while compensating for his perceived shortcomings, would make them more motivated to vote for Biden (for some, it was the only information that swayed their thinking on Biden).
- The trifecta of coronavirus, economic collapse, and racial injustice has introduced an unprecedented level of stress, anxiety, and challenges.
- Coronavirus/Health: Participants believe that we should be moving toward universal healthcare that gives insurance companies less power; they cite other countries as models for change.
- Economic Collapse: Though many respondents are struggling financially, the risk of getting this illness outweighs the desire to reopen. Respondents are looking for immediate relief from financial hardships that include additional stimulus relief checks, extended unemployment benefits, and assistance for those who may not have lost their job but are still struggling financially. They want policies that help the lower and middle classes, not big corporations.
- Police Brutality: Respondents want to see real changes made—more than “street signs and photo ops.” They want police reforms and changes in laws to hold bad cops and those who commit hate crimes accountable. Respondents support spending less on the police and shifting that money to schools.
- Low propensity women of color have little faith in the democratic process. Obstacles that they have faced in the past include changing their voter registration after moving, getting a ballot while away at school, not having transportation to the polls, being unable to wait in long lines, or not being able to get time away from work or home to go vote. Voting in the age of COVID exacerbates this even further as some states are changing their rules, others are further restricting in-person voting, and some – like voters in Texas and Native American women living on reservations – have no option other than in-person voting. A few Native American respondents note that it is difficult to get information and absentee ballots by mail on a reservation where there are no street addresses.
- Respondents view Trump as the existential threat to this country that drives them to vote this year. Trump has changed their views about voting, and many respondents who did not vote regularly in previous elections say they are highly motivated to vote this year to get Trump out of office. Most of these low-propensity voters say they are determined this year to do whatever necessary to vote in November because the stakes are so high.
- Respondents overwhelmingly express a desire for a unifier, who will piece this broken country back together and finally take on racial injustice. At a minimum, respondents want a new president who has a tangible plan of action to deal with the pandemic and the immediate and long-term impact of the economic fallout, as well as a plan to increase access to quality, affordable health care with a focus on costs. They want the government to be transparent, communicate clearly, and be accountable.
To read the full report, click here.
ABOUT SUPERMAJORITY Supermajority is a women’s equality organization, made up of women of all backgrounds, races, and ages who are coming together to create a future where we are truly equal. Supermajority is connecting women with each other, and building on our collective power by providing the information, training, and resources to take action in our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and in the voting booth.
Alyssa Furnari | Zaina Javaid