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Anger, anxiety motivate voters in 2018

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Emotions stir engagement in midterm elections

CPC RABA Anxious Anger Graphs

June 29–July 1, 2018, University of Delaware Poll

JULY 12, 2018―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 for 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% versus 40%) and angry (66% versus 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 18-29 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 Dr. Lindsay Hoffman, Associate Director of the CPC.

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 18–29 were less likely to vote in the midterm elections this November (73% compared with approximately 95% for other age groups).

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About the poll

RABA Research interviewed 697 voters from June 29 to July 1, 2018, via an automated phone survey. The results were weighted to ensure proportional response. The margin of error for these results is +/-3.7. For questions, please email info@rabaresearch.com or call (917) 685-4819. The National Agenda Opinion Project research is funded by the University of Delaware's nonpartisan Center for Political Communication (CPC). The study was supervised by the CPC's Associate Director, Lindsay Hoffman (Associate Professor) in the Department of Communication.

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