The outcome of last week’s U.S. midterm election has strong implications for life in the United States over the next two years. Prior to the U.S. midterms, Branded conducted extensive research into voters’ political values and beliefs. Our research aimed to go beyond voting patterns to better understand how voters feel about the political process. The research was conducted in August 2018 to a sample of 668 voters.

Branded’s political research predicted high voter turnout as 82 percent of U.S. consumers told us they intended to vote in the midterms. In the end, voter turnout exceeded expectations. Approximately 114 million ballots were cast in the 2018 midterms, compared to 83 million in 2014, according to estimates by the New York Times.

Branded’s political research showed signs of increasing polarization since the 2016 Presidential election.  Approximately 49 percent of Republican voters and 47 percent of Democrat voters told us they feel more closely aligned with their political party during the Trump era. And voters are becoming more extreme in their views. According to our research, 74 percent of Republican voters say their values are solidly conservative while 55 percent of Democrat voters say their values are solidly liberal.

Voters tend to associate with others who share their views, contributing to further polarization. About two-thirds of voters told us they feel their political values are very similar to their friends and neighbors. Yet, about 21 percent of Republican voters and 18 percent of Democrat voters said they have considered moving due to the political climate in their cities.

The U.S. midterm election results confirmed these signs of increasing of political divides in the country, with Trump playing a significant role in midterm choices. According to NBC exit polls, two-thirds of voters said Trump was a factor in their vote. Approximately 38 percent of voters said they cast their ballot to oppose Trump while 26 percent cast their ballot to support Trump.

However, despite the divides, our research shows areas of opportunity for consensus building. Regardless of party affiliation, voters told us that healthcare was the top issue driving them to the polls during the midterms. Approximately 41 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of Republicans said they cast their ballots with healthcare in mind. Exit polls confirmed this with 41 percent of voters saying healthcare was the biggest driver of their vote last week.