NEW POST-ELECTION POLL: Equality Voters Stopped the Red Wave in Pennsylvania, Rejecting Trump-Backed Candidates’ Extremism and Anti-LGBTQ+ Attacks

by HRC Staff

“Equality Voters” delivered huge margins to pro-equality Democrats up and down the ballot in Pennsylvania, pushing back against extremism and defying pre-election predictions of a massive “red wave”

New polling in Pennsylvania released today by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — shows that the 2022 election defied pre-election predictions of a massive “red wave” in no small measure because Equality Voters pushed back against extremism and voted to protect commonly held values and our democracy.

In Pennsylvania, Equality Voters rejected the extremism of Doug Mastriano and Mehmet Oz. The outcome here not only ensured that one of the most extreme candidates in the country did not get close to the governor’s mansion, but also that a pro-equality U.S. Senate majority was maintained and could possibly be expanded pending results of the Dec. 6 run-off election in Georgia.

Across the country and in Pennsylvania, election deniers, and right-wing extremists lost winnable elections because they advocated views that are out-of-touch with average voters, particularly the huge number of Equality Voters who made the critical difference up and down the ballot. Equality Voters, of which there are more than 3 million in Pennsylvania, are a group of voters modeled to support LGBTQ+ equality. They represented 38 percent of the 2022 electorate nationally and in Pennsylvania — a number that reflects the growing political strength of this voting bloc — and tend to be younger and more racially diverse than the electorate as a whole.

“You can’t expect to win in Pennsylvania by nominating candidates who advocate extreme positions, including attacking and demonizing the LGBTQ+ community that grows more politically powerful every election cycle,” said Ryan Matthews, the Human Rights Campaign’s Pennsylvania State Director. “Our opponents didn’t generate the landslide they were betting on, thanks to the historic turnout of pro-equality, pro-democracy, and pro-choice voters who sent a strong message that extremists, conspiracy theorists, and far-right radicals do not represent Pennsylvanians. The victories of Governor-elect Josh Shapiro, Senator-elect John Fetterman, and the newly elected pro-equality majority in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives prove that spreading lies, hate, and division—the tactics of their opponents—did not work and have no place in this country.”

Equality Voters delivered huge margins to Democrats at every level of the ballot.

  • An 86 percent majority of Equality voters supported Governor-elect Josh Shapiro, 81 percent supported U.S. Senator-elect John Fetterman, and 79 percent supported Democratic U.S. House candidates.

As predicted, right-wing efforts to spread propaganda about and attack transgender people failed.

  • In this survey, we asked voters which specific issues motivated them to vote this year. Inflation (47 percent) ranks first while Abortion (37 percent) ranks a close second.

  • Only 5 percent identify gender-affirming care for transgender youth or transgender participation in sports as issues motivating them to vote.

  • This confirms extensive research prior to the election that found anti-transgender attacks were only effective in riling up extreme members of the conservative base, which is why the attacks were so prominent in paid media during Republican primaries.

  • While the attacks were ineffective with the general electorate and in fact repelled swing voters, they still caused harm, including increasing stigma, discrimination, and violence against the transgender community.

Voters will tolerate no retreat on marriage.

  • With this week’s pivotal U.S. Senate votes on marriage equality underway, a convincing 68 percent of Pennsylvania voters in this fairly conservative, midterm electorate support Congress passing a law to protect the federal right to same-sex marriage, seven points higher than the national average (61 percent).

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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