Election 2018

Why vote? Readers weigh in.

October 25, 2018
Text by Alexis Johnson
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

To some, the upcoming midterm election may seem like one of the most important moments of our lifetime. The U.S. is just two weeks away from voting in an election that has the potential to shift the policies and ideals of our nation in extremely different directions.

Those extremes are documented daily in the divisive political climate that has led to heated tensions between the Democratic and Republican parties, both of which hope to maintain or gain control of the House and Senate in November.

To get an idea of how the residents in our area plan to act, or not act, on Nov. 6, we asked readers to take a survey and tell us some details about their plans to vote in this election.

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As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, a little over 24 hours after the survey went live, 980 readers told us their names, party affiliations, areas in which they live, the gender in which they identify as, race, average household income, and highest level of education. Each voter was also given the chance to negate an answer, if they preferred.

Of the 980 responders, 956 people said they plan to vote in November. Seventeen people told us that they will not be voting, and six of them had not decided.

The reasoning behind their choices was somewhat reflective of the political climate across the country. Some voters went as far as to say they are voting because they’d like to see President Donald Trump impeached. Others said they are casting their vote in order to “save our country from Democrat mobs.”

Candace, a white Republican female residing in Allegheny County, told the Post-Gazette, “This year it’s more important than ever” to vote. “We the people have a chance to steady the ship of state which is careening wildly out of control,” she wrote.

Candace is one of the 39 percent of participants who identified as female; 59 percent identified as male.

Almost half of the voters who took the survey live in Allegheny County — outside of the city — (45.5 percent) with the second-largest amount of responses coming from the city of Pittsburgh (19.1 percent). Next were residents of Beaver, Butler, Washington or Westmoreland counties. Fifteen percent of data came from residents outside of Western PA or outside of the state altogether.

Over half the voters recorded their party affiliation as Democrat (57 percent) while 27 percent of voters said they side with the Republican Party. 15 percent of survey takers chose “other” or preferred not to say.

But no matter the differences in party, an overwhelming majority of participants were in a similar age group. 85 percent of people who took the survey were ages 41 and up, nearly half of those telling the PG that they are age 65 or older. 11 percent of voters who took the survey were between ages 25-40.

While some voters like Anne, a Democrat from Allegheny County, said she is voting because “Trump needs to be stopped,” other responders like JR, from Butler County, seemed content with the current administration and said he wants “to keep a good thing going.”

A majority of voters said they were simply heading to the polls to exercise their rights and fulfill their civic duty.

90 percent of the overall votes came from participants who described themselves as white, 2 percent identified as black, while 6 percent preferred not to say.

A quarter of survey participants told the Post-Gazette that their average annual household income fell between $61,000 and $100,000, while over 35 percent of participants said their household brings in $101,000 or more.

Over 71 percent said they earned at least a bachelor’s degree.

Below are some of the responses we’ve gotten so far. But the survey is still open and results are likely to continue to change. As they do, this story will be updated.

Do you plan on voting in November? Tell us why or why not.


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