2018 midterms by the numbers

The 2018 midterm election was historic on many levels, as Democrats won the majority in the House of Representatives, as well as picked up seven governor’s mansions, over 300 state legislative seats, as well as won many hyper-local races throughout the country. While Republicans gained at least two seats in the United States Senate and arguably ended the rural Democratic Party, the data points to the blue wave being quite real. Here are some things of note:


At present, 115 million Americans — a 32 percent increase from the 2014 midterm election — voted in the 2018 midterm elections. This turnout rate of 49 percent of eligible voters is the highest since 1914 and largest since the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Young voters (18-29), saw a 56 percent surge over its 2014 turnout, which is the highest increase in turnout among any age group. While only 31 percent of eligible younger voters showed up to the polls, this is an increase of several million voters and were to the benefit of Democrats. As Harvard University’s John Della Volpe noted, it is estimated that the overwhelming majority of the added young voters backed Democrats and were primarily responsible for the wins of Democratic candidates.

Demographic shifts:

Three voting blocs saw major shifts toward Democrats from 2014 to 2018: Women, young voters and senior citizens. The following shifts are of note:

  • Women voters went from D+4 in 2014 to D+19 in 2018
  • Young voters were D+11 in 2014 to D+35 in 2018
  • Voters 65 and older broke R+16 in 2014, but shifted toward Dems and were R+2 in 2018

These are astounding shifts within these three demographics.

What does this mean for the future?

It is too soon to tell if there has been a durable change in the electorate. This increased turnout, as well as the shifts toward Democrats among women, young voters and seniors are not guaranteed in future elections. Democrats and Republicans should both not assume that these votes and turnout rates will occur in the same fashion in future elections. What is clear is that each side of the aisle will continue to battle for these voters.

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