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A national poll released in January by the Washington Post/ ABC News predicts that women’s strong preference for Democratic over Republican candidates (57-31) in congressional races could play a decisive role in determining the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections. And a 2017 survey by MTV/PRRI finds that over the past year, young women were significantly more likely than young men to be engaged in political activity, a finding The Brookings Institute suggests could shift “the course of our politics in the 2018 midterm elections and beyond.”

We saw these trends play out in the 2017 elections, especially in the Virginia races for the state’s House of Delegates. Record numbers of Democratic newcomers, including a record number of women, challenged long entrenched Republican incumbents and won, despite having to campaign in highly gerrymandered districts that favored Republicans. A massive gender gap with 13 percent more women than men (61 percent versus 48 percent) voting for the Democratic candidate Ralph Northam for governor; a colossal African American vote, especially from African American women; and a surge among young voters combined to shift the makeup of the House from a Republican supermajority of 66-34 to a 51-49 bare majority. And that outcome was only final after a tie vote for one House seat was broken by literally drawing a name out of a bowl.

In Alabama’s special election to fill a U.S. Senate seat, the gender gap was again decisive. An extraordinary turnout among African American women, 98 percent of whom voted for Democrat Doug Jones, led the way, putting the Senate in play in 2018. Young voters were a significant if not decisive factor in both the Virginia and Alabama elections. In Virginia, the turnout among 18 to 29-year-old voters surged to 34 percent, up from 26 percent in 2013 and double their 17 percent turnout in 2009. Among young voters, 69 percent supported Northam for governor. In Alabama, young voters again mobilized in record numbers, increasing their turnout to 23 percent to help elect Jones.

Source/ rest: msmagazine.com