U.S. voters who rent instead of own property represent a potentially potent voting block, a recent study suggests, and in theory could swing election results — if they turned out en masse at the polls.
With pivotal Congressional races set to be decided on Tuesday, Apartment List released new data last week showing renters as an underrepresented voting block that's less likely than homeowners to be a force at the ballot box. Only 49 percent of eligible renters cast a vote in the 2016 election, compared to 67 percent of property owners, the firm said, and renters with active registrations are less likely to vote.
Renters are not conventionally considered a distinct voting coalition, yet they represent almost one in three voters, or 30.2 percent of the eligible voting population, and they face a distinct set of economic challenges," Apartment List's chief economist, Chris Salviati, said this week.
"Small changes in turnout amongst renters can have a profound impact on national politics," he added.
At the polls, homeowners who show up to vote outweigh renters at the ballot box, with some 74 percent registered when compared to 61 percent of renters, according to statistic cited by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. But given key characteristics of renters — many households include children under 18 and non-citizen immigrants, the firm found — Apartment List suggested that they could sway the results of elections.
"If renter voter turnout had matched homeowner turnout in the 2016 presidential election, Hilary Clinton would have won four key swing states - Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - which would have secured her the presidency," Salviati wrote.