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MoveOn poll: Drop-off voters can be inspired to turn out this year

Fear that a GOP-led Senate could result in cuts to public education funding or access to birth control and a woman’s right to choose are the most motivating messages for drop-off voters and are effective in generating interest to vote this November, according to a new poll commissioned by MoveOn.org of low-propensity voters in five states with crucial Senate elections.

Likely Democratic Drop Off Voters Polling for MoveOn by MoveOn_org

“If these low-propensity progressive voters turn out to vote this November, they’ll provide the margin of victory for Democratic Senate candidates in tight races and prevent a Republican takeover,” said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action. “These voters are highly motivated to vote after learning more about the consequences of a Republican-led Senate, including cutting access to health care for 8 million people and limiting a woman’s access to birth control and her right to choose. In an election that’s all about turnout, this research shows that one-to-one conversations with infrequent progressive voters about what a Republican Senate would mean in their lives are the key to increasing turnout and keeping the Senate in Democrats’ hands.”

Overall, drop-off voters were highly concerned about the GOP-led war on women — from allowing employers to block employees’ access to birth control to pushing legislation that would ensure equal pay for equal work. In focus groups, women voters were concerned over efforts to limit access to no-cost birth control while allowing for coverage of Viagra.

Among voters who became more interested in participating this November after hearing certain progressive messages, the fear of future government shutdowns, cuts to public education, and potentially deep cuts or privatization of Social Security and Medicare topped their list of concerns under a Republican-controlled Senate. Messaging around the middle class falling behind as well as education cuts in order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy also was highly effective with this group.

The findings come from a poll of 1,000 low-propensity Democratic-leaning voters in Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, and North Carolina, as well as focus groups with drop-off voters, all conducted by Lake Research Partners on behalf of MoveOn.org Political Action. Respondents were voters who are likely to vote in presidential years, but who often do not vote in non-presidential elections, and tend to vote for Democrats when they do vote.

These tested messages will be reflected in the 5 million voter-to-voter calls MoveOn members will make this fall to low-propensity voters in these key states using cutting edge voter-contact technology. MoveOn will also carry these messages to voters through ads, media events, and emails to members in these states.

Key Findings

Drop-off voters are encouraged to vote after understanding what’s at stake with their state’s Senate race. After hearing that the Senate contest in their state could determine control of the Senate, 80 percent of all respondents indicate strong interest in voting — up from an initial 59 percent interest in voting at the start of the poll.

The GOP-led War on Women is a highly motivating message for voters. With both drop-off voters overall, and those who shift to a greater interest after hearing key messages, Republican efforts to limit access to birth control and take away a woman’s right to choose are influential messages.

Voters are deeply concerned over possible cuts to education, health care, Social Security and Medicare to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. Of voters who shift to a higher interest in participating, the fear that a Republican-led Senate will cut funding for Head Start and K-12 education and cut or privatize Social Security and Medicare are very motivating. Specifically, Republican efforts to cut these essential programs in order to give tax cuts to millionaires, billionaires, and corporations were concerning to these voters.

Concerns of Dropoff Dem Voters in Key Senate States