Exit polls show 2022 midterm voters changed from 2018

American voters aren’t sending the red wave that some Republicans predicted and Democrats feared. As of early Wednesday, CNN had not predicted which side would lead the House or Senate.

Democrats were able to shake off the historical precedent of losing a large number of seats in the president’s first midterm elections, but lost some key support in their core constituencies. They have won key victories in states like Pennsylvania but have been swept away in traditional battlegrounds like Florida, which is behaving more and more like a red state.

Republicans have been unable to translate economic grievances and frustration with President Joe Biden into a broad mission, despite some bright spots, such as turning Florida red and doing well in the Long Island congressional race. It’s important to note that there are huge differences across the country.

Here’s a look at two very different midterm elections, who saw a blue wave in 2018, when Democrats won 40 seats, and a relatively close election in 2022. Some preliminary results from CNN’s exit polls of pre-election and Election Day voters.

CNN’s 2022 exit poll includes interviews with thousands of voters, including those who voted on Election Day and those who voted early or absent. This range makes them a powerful tool for understanding the demographics and political opinions of voters in this year’s election. Their findings will ultimately be weighed against the ultimate benchmark: the election results themselves. Even so, exit polls are still opinion polls, with room for error — meaning they’re most useful when viewed as estimates rather than precise measurements. This is especially true for the earliest exit poll numbers, which have not yet been adjusted to match the final election results.

The CNN Exit Poll combines in-person and face-to-face interviews with voters on Election Day, telephone and online polls to measure the views of early and absentee mail-in voters. They are conducted by Edison Research on behalf of the national electoral pool. In-person interviews on election day were conducted in a random sample of 250 polling places. The results also included interviews with early voting and absentee voters by phone or online at 72 early voting locations. The full sample of 15,234 respondents has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points; subgroups are larger.

The 2022 polling data will continue to be updated and will be automatically reflected in the table below.

by gender

Democrats lose support from women in 2022 compared to 2018.

When Democrats took control of the House of Representatives after the 2018 election, slightly more than half of voters were women, giving the party a huge advantage. Although women represent a similar majority of voters in 2022, the Democratic lead appears to have narrowed significantly. Also, in 2022, Republicans have increased support among men.

Early exit polls confirmed that Americans do support abortion rights. Just over a third of voters said abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances. But while House Republicans won support from nearly all voters who oppose abortion rights, they also have support from a quarter of voters who believe it should be legal.


Democrats are losing support from younger voters in 2022 compared to 2018. Republicans won over older voters.

Young voters have traditionally backed Democrats and won the Democratic Party by a huge margin in 2018. Republicans have taken that advantage this year.

Democrats and Republicans split older voters in 2018, but Republicans won a majority in 2022.

By race/ethnicity and gender

Republicans won support from white women, while Democrats lost support from Latino voters.

Republicans won a majority of white women, an important voting bloc that split the two parties in 2018. Republicans also predict they will do better with Latino voters than they did four years ago. According to early exit polls, Latino men’s Democratic approval rating was 63 percent in 2018 and will fall below 55 percent in 2022. Republicans appear to have chipped away at Democrats’ edge among Latino women, though Democrats still have about two-thirds of support.

Urban-rural gap

Suburban voters turned to Republicans.

Most American voters will live in the suburbs in 2018 and 2022. But while suburban voters were evenly split when Democrats took control of the House of Representatives four years ago, they are turning to Republicans in 2022. The GOP’s already strong lead among rural voters has grown even bigger. Republicans have even eaten into the Democrats’ lead in urban areas.

From an economic point of view

Some shifts are to be expected.

With a Republican president in office in 2018, more Republicans say the economy is in good shape. In 2022, with a Democratic president, Democrats may think things are better. Overall, more than two-thirds of voters said the economy was in good or good shape in 2018 — and by 2022, that’s just a quarter.

By race and education

Republicans won among white voters without college degrees.

Democrats lost some support among voters of color, while Republicans consolidated their support among white voters without college degrees.

by ideology

A minority of moderates support Democrats.

Democrats have seen their support dwindle among moderates. Republicans are built on conservative support.

Political parties identified by voters (regardless of which House candidate they voted for this year)

More Republicans showed up. Democrats lost some independents.

Back in 2018, 37% of voters said they were Democrats, while 33% said they were Republicans and 30% said they were independents. In 2022, Republicans will prevail. When they won control of the House of Representatives in 2018, Democrats dominated independent voters. This has all but disappeared in 2022.

through the views of the parties

Republicans won over people who didn’t like either side.

Both Democrats and Republicans have improved their performance among party loyalists. But Republicans have built a lead among voters who don’t like either side. Democrats are losing ground among bipartisan voters.

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