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Women of Color Will Vote With Their Pocketbooks This November

Sunita Sohrabji | Ethnic Media Services

The perception of a floundering economy will loom large as women of color — a large and reliable, but often overlooked, voting bloc — head to the polls this November.

Approximately 57% of Latinx women, 55% of AAPI women, and 49% of Black women think things have gotten worse in the country over the past year, according to a new poll released last week. And they feel their concerns are unaddressed by politicians and those vying for office.

The poll is the first of its kind. “There’s no other data set out there like this. No one brings these unheard voices to the table,” said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, at an Ethnic Media Services news briefing May 10.

The poll was released by Intersections Of Our Lives, a collaboration between NAPAWF; In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda; and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice.

Veteran pollster Celinda Lake, and Roshni Nedungadi, partner at HIT Strategies — sampled 850 black women registered voters, 850 Latina women registered voters, and 850 Asian American Pacific Islander registered voters from March 14 to April 2. Entire poll results can be viewed here: https://intersectionsofourlives.org

Rising costs and the overall trajectory of the economy is one of the leading issues for women of color. 35% of Latina women, 33% of AAPI women, and 29% of black women said that the high costs of goods and services was one of their most important issues. Included in this category were sub-issues like affordable health care, fair housing, closing the pay gap, and job creation. 92% of Black women, 89% of AAPI women, and 88% of Latino women prioritize the creation of good-paying jobs, according to poll data.

More than 75% of women of color prioritize abortion access and care. And 93% of Black women, 84% of AAPI women, and 79% of Latina women said racism has gone on too long and political leaders must advance racial equity policies that are long overdue.

“Women of color represent an enormous potential vote. But we are at a crossroads. They are not going to vote for people unless they see change, see their values represented, and they see people talking about policies that affect their daily lives,” said Lake.

Candidates must engage with this critical voting bloc and not take them for granted, said Nedungadi, adding that women of color feel frustrated at being overlooked. “These women are really looking for communication and for reassurance that elected officials are thinking about their agendas and advocating for them,” she said.

Choimorrow, along with Dr. Regina Davis Moss, President and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda; and Lupe Rodriguez, Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, broke down poll data by ethnicity.

79% of Black women voters feel that systemic racism has gone for too long, said Moss, adding that Black voters want leaders to create and fight for systems of racial justice which are long overdue.

Black maternal and reproductive health is equally important for this group of voters, said Moss. 91% of Black women believe it’s important for Congress to address the high rates of maternal death among women of color, she said. In 2021, the maternal mortality rate for Black women was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.6 times the rate for White women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Black women are some of the most committed voters; 9 out of 10 women of color have said that voting is very important. We know our votes matter, but we also are pushing back and saying, ‘you know, the onus is not on us to just turn out all the time. Don’t take us for granted. The onus is on you to demonstrate that you understand what we need and to speak to our needs,’” said Moss.

Partisan politics are not necessarily what drives Latina voters, said Rodriguez. “They are moved by candidates and folks in power who speak to the issues that matter to them, who seek to address everyday issues that they are facing on things like immigration and family separation.”

Healthcare access is a huge concern for Latino voters, said Rodriguez, noting that the community continues to have the lowest rates of insurance and regular healthcare coverage in the US. In 2022, 18% of Hispanics were uninsured, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

For AAPI women, top-tier priorities are reforming the criminal justice system, passing gun violence prevention laws, and paid family medical leave, said Choimorrow. She noted that AAPI women are largely motivated to vote, but feel disillusioned by the idea that their vote will effectuate change.

There is a misconception that AAPI women are anti-abortion, she said, noting that abortion rights are a top priority for Indian American women. More than 75% of Chinese American women support abortion access. Seven in 10 Vietnamese and Korean women and 6 out of 10 Filipina women are pro-choice, said Choimorrow, adding that, as a Korean American, she was surprised by the results for her community, which traditionally tends to be conservative on this issue.

“I am telling every Korean I know. The more of us that are out there talking about it and changing the narrative, the more our community feels like they can participate and really change the trajectory of this country and how we think,” she said.

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