Think you know what’s driving the 2022 midterms? Depends on where you live.

With the midterm elections only a few weeks away, national polling indicates that the economy will likely be the top voting issue for many Americans as inflation rages on.

According to a recent Pew Research Center poll from August, nearly three-quarters of voters (77%) stated the economy is vital to their vote in this year’s election. Gun policy and violent crime were the second and third most important voting issues at 62% and 60%, respectively. The poll also found that abortion has become a rising voting issue, with over half of voters (56%) stating that abortion was a top voting issue.

While the economy and inflation were top issues in states across the country, we also looked at local polls to identify other pressing issues driving state and local races. For example, concerns over preserving democracy, abortion and school safety on the East Coast topped the list, even in close second behind the economy and inflation in some states. On the West coast, the most significant number of departures from national surveys took place, with climate change, homelessness, and affordable housing cited as issues that are top of mind for voters.

These are some of the issues that are driving state and local races.


  • An October Marist College Poll found that 28% of voters in New York say inflation is their top concern, with preserving democracy close behind at 24%, followed by crime (18%) and abortion (14%).

  • In New Hampshire, a September poll conducted by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center found that the economy and inflation are top of mind for voters at 33%, followed closely by abortion at 20%.


  • 40% of Georgia voters cited inflation as their top concern; preserving democracy and abortion followed at 24% and 16%, respectively.

  • A September High Point University poll found that most North Carolina voters (74%) stated that school safety was the top voting issue, while the top issue of interest in South Carolina is education.


  • The Des Moines Register reported that 60% of Iowa voters believe inflation is a top issue facing their communities. In Ohio, 71% of voters said the economy was a top issue in a Baldwin Wallace University poll.

  • In Wisconsin, a La Follette Policy poll in July found that 39% of voters believe climate change is a top issue

  • In South Dakota, the majority of voters (79%) expressed concerns over the worsening level of civility in America over the past five years, according to a September South Dakota News Watch poll.


  • A July statewide poll in The Seattle Times found that abortion is the top voting issue for Washington residents, with 28% of voters stating that abortion was the most important issue to them, followed by inflation at 20%.

  • In California, voters ranked the economy, jobs, and inflation as the most significant concern at 29%, followed by homelessness (14%) and housing costs/availability (11%) in a September Public Policy Institute of California poll.

  • The economy and affordable housing are also top issues for Hawaii voters, who face the highest cost of living of any U.S. state, according to USA TodayClimate change also ranked among one of the top concerns for Hawaiians.


  • 28% of Texas residents said that inflation was the most important voting issue in a Marist College Poll this month, while preserving democracy was a close second at 21%, followed by abortion at 16%.

  • Oklahoma voters stated that the economy is their most important voting issue at 32%, followed by education at 27% and abortion at 16%, based on results from a local news KOCO 5-Amber Integrated poll from September.

  • An Arizona Voter’s Agenda poll from September found that immigration, economy & inflation, education, and long-term water supplies are all top voting issues for state residents.

  • In neighboring Colorado, an ACLU of Colorado poll from August found that 80% of Colorado voters believe housing affordability is a top voting issue.