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52% of women, ages 50 and up, say the economy isn't working well for them. What that means for midterm elections

Key Points
  • New research from AARP and pollsters finds 52% of women ages 50 and up say the economy is not working well for them, up from 37% in 2019.
  • The top issues on these women's minds: kitchen table budgets and rising prices.
  • That could influence this large group of reliable voters as they head to the polls in November.
Supporters of former President Donald Trump and then-candidate President Joe Biden talk before a March 7, 2020 rally at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kyle Rivas | Getty Images

Women ages 50 and over are one of the largest, most reliable groups of voters.

And going into this election season, they're not happy with the economy, according to new research from AARP in partnership with pollsters Celinda Lake, Christine Matthews, Kristen Soltis Anderson and Margie Omero.

Their recent poll found 52% of women in this age cohort say the economy is not working well for them, up from 37% in 2019.

The top issues on these women's minds: kitchen table budgets and the day-to-day impact of rising prices, according to the research.

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About 46% of women 50 and over surveyed said the rising cost of living is the most important issue facing the U.S. now.

Moreover, 59% said rising prices are the most important aspect of the economy for them personally.

The poll was conducted online and over the phone between Feb. 18 and March 3. It included 1,836 voters ages 50 and up who are likely to vote in 2022.

Women in that age cohort have not yet decided which candidates to support, the poll found. But their vote will very likely influence which parties win a majority in Congress and in statehouses.

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Majority of Americans worried about rising prices

Just 17% of female voters ages 50 and over have made up their minds on how they plan to vote in November.

Meanwhile, 65% say they will not decide until weeks or days before Election Day.

The reason why many of these female voters are undecided is because they are unhappy with their current leaders, said Celinda Lake, founder and president of Lake Research Partners, during a webcast on the research's findings.

"This dissatisfaction is leading this cohort, which usually makes up its mind early, to be undecided about how they're going to vote," Lake said.

When you have elected leaders doing a bad job on the No. 1 issue that people are obsessed with … then you have a very, very volatile situation.
Celinda Lake
founder and president of Lake Research Partners

Democrat, Republican and independent voters all gave politicians failing grades on most issues.

"Across the board, when it came to prices rising faster than income, you saw women of all parties saying politicians were doing a bad job," Lake said. "When you have elected leaders doing a bad job on the No. 1 issue that people are obsessed with … then you have a very, very volatile situation."

The votes they cast could have a significant influence on the election results. Women age 50 and over represent 27% of registered voters. In the 2018 and 2020 elections, they cast 30% of all ballots.

Notably, women ages 50 and over are about evenly divided by party, with 44% supporting Republicans and 45% Democrats. In contrast, men in that age group lean Republican, with 51%, versus 38% Democrat.

The economy will likely still be top of mind for these female voters vote in November.

Currently, 72% of women ages 50 and up are worried about having enough income to keep up with rising costs.

Many of these women are not optimistic that the situation will improve in the next 12 months, with 47% indicating they expect their financial circumstances to stay the same and 39% believing it will get worse. Just 13% said they think it will improve.

For women ages 50 through 64, retirement is a big concern. The poll found 51% of women are worried about whether Social Security will be there for them, while 30% are concerned about having enough savings.