Women have held a majority in the electorate for decades. In the 2018 midterms, they made up 52% of voters.
“CBS Mornings” spoke with four women of different backgrounds from across the country about what’s driving them to the polls this year.
Irene Caudillo is a 57-year-old Democrat from Kansas.
Bonnie Barton is an 80-year-old Republican from Georgia.
Brianna Day is an 18-year-old from Texas who is a registered Independent. She said she’s nervous but very excited about being a first-time voter.
And Imani Samuels is a 38-year-old Democrat from Washington, D.C.
Here’s what they told us about issues that matter to them, ahead of Tuesday’s elections.
Barton said the economy and inflation are “absolutely” top issues.
“Even though I am retired and 80, I still think about finding a job to supplement [my income],” she said. “I know I can do something. I’ve got a fairly sharp mind.”
“But do you want to work?” asked “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King. “Or are you doing it because you think you have to?”
“I think I want to,” she replied. “Right now, I’m taking care of my brother who is slightly disabled, and my husband who may come home from a nursing home. What I want to do is take some of the pressure off of my children who have been helping me.”
Samuels also said the economy is “absolutely top of mind” for her, and that she and her husband regularly review their budget.
“And gas definitely has gone up. We are paying a lot in groceries,” she said. “At one point in time, lunch at school for our kids was free because of COVID. We are now back to paying their lunch every day, which adds up”
Another hot-button issue this year is abortion, following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — allowing states to enforce bans on abortion, even with no exceptions.
Day said the issue will drive her to the polls.
“With the political polarization that we have in this country, everyone’s on different sides and super-extreme,” she said. “And when it comes to an abortion and the sanctity of life, I think that’s an issue where we need to maybe be in the gray area. We can’t be black-and-white, if that makes sense.”
“I also think the overturning of Roe v. Wade is sending a lot of girls my age to the polls,” Day added. “And I see that amongst my friends. We all feel very passionately in our own ways. I also can’t see no abortion at all without respect of rape, incest, or the mother’s life.”
Samuels said the Supreme Court was wrong in overturning Roe V. Wade.
“I think that to be in a woman’s body is a very special thing, and to have had two of my own, if I didn’t feel confident in raising them and nourishing them in such a prosperous way, I want a choice,” she said.
Barton, however, said the Supreme Court made the right decision.
“What they did was they sent it back to the states, didn’t they? So, it’s a state’s issue now,” she said.
“I believe that every state needs to make that decision,” she said. “Every voter in each state needs to make that decision. That’s being an individual.”
Day agreed with Barton: “It’s up to the state government. It’s up to their Congress to make that decision. So, [abortion has] not completely gone away, per se.”
Caudillo, however, said, “I’m shocked that the decision was made. I think about my daughters. I do not think they made the right decision.”
“Now every state has to battle,” said Caudillo. “Kansas just battled an issue on their ballot in the primaries. And it was not just Democrat women that came out. I’m thankful for the Republican White women, diverse women, who made a decision that felt that this is truly a women’s health issue. [It] should be discussed with a professional doctor that determines what is right for the individual and what’s right for their situation. So, I think we’re making it difficult by passing it to the state.”
“It’s a complicated issue,” said Day.
“It’s about, like, life, you know?” she said. “And we have different perspectives.”
The 2020 election
The last presidential election was top of mind, too.
Barton said, “I guess one of the reasons I like President Trump was he says, ‘We’re gonna build a wall,’ and he did it. Well, almost!”
King noted that Trump also said the election was stolen. Numerous audits, court rulings and investigations have determined that to be unfounded.
Barton said she doesn’t know if it was stolen or not. “I really don’t. … And quite frankly, it doesn’t matter,” Barton said. “It doesn’t matter at this point. We are where we are. We need to figure out how are we gonna get to a better place?”
When asked if anyone was concerned about voter fraud in this year’s midterms, Caudillo replied, “I think I’m more worried about what constraints [are imposed] and what we’ve done to make it harder to vote, because there’s so much discussion about ‘fraud’ that has not been introduced.”
Day said she did not believe the 2020 election was stolen: “I think it would be very hard to steal an entire election. Also, at the same time, there were investigations into it, multiple investigations, which had no results.”
When asked what she feels is at stake in this election, Samuels said, “Personal freedom is at stake. Humanity is at stake. I think about all of these things. They’re all levers, being able to feel confident in your livelihood. That’s something we need.”
Caudillo said what’s at stake “is movement forward, opportunity to rebuild after the pandemic in a way that values people over politics.”