Often dismissed by political experts as disgruntled and disorganized, low-income voters played a key role in Donald Trump’s defeat in the presidential election, according to a new study.
The high turnout of low-income voters in the 2020 election – especially in battlefield states – helped secure victories for Joe Biden and Democrats in the Senate and House, the “Waking the study” concluded. Sleeping Giant ”from the Poor People’s Campaign. The organization, an advocate for low-income Americans, launched a non-partisan voter registration campaign ahead of the 2020 vote in 16 states.
The reason poor and low-income voters have traditionally participated in elections at lower rates “is not because they don’t care about politics, but because politics don’t care about them. Poor Campaign Co-Chairs Reverend Dr William Barber II. and Rev. Dr Liz Theoharis wrote in the foreword to the report released on Friday.
“They do not hear their needs and demands from candidates or feel their votes count,” they added.
They are also less likely to vote due to illness, disability, transportation issues and the rise of voter suppression laws – “all systemic barriers,” the authors added.
But the 2020 election saw the highest voter turnout in U.S. history, including among poor and low-income voters, the study noted.
Of the 168 million Americans who voted last year, 59 million – 35% of the total – had an estimated annual household income of less than $ 50,000, classifying them as “poor” or low. income, according to the analysis.
Where Biden’s margin of victory was 3% or less, low-income Americans made up 34% to 45% of the voting population (Arizona 39.96%), Georgia (37.84%), Michigan (37 , 81%), Nevada (35.78%), North Carolina (43.67%), Pennsylvania (34.12%) and Wisconsin (39.80%), according to the study.
Low-income voters included large numbers of white Americans as well as people of color.
The numbers “challenge … the media narrative that … low-income white voters are the de facto base of the Republican Party and delivered Donald Trump to the White House” in 2016, wrote study author Shailly Gupta Barnes.
“The results suggest that, rather than sidelining low-income white voters, it is possible to build coalitions of low-income voters of all races around a political agenda focused on the issues they have in. common, ”she added.
However, for the key segment of the population to go to the polls, lawmakers must support programs that speak to those voters, the report concludes.
The Poor’s Campaign also supports legislation to ban partisan gerrymandering, expand early voting, and establish a national automatic voter registration system.
View the full report here.