Patterns among suburban voters in 2021 elections

With election results from Virginia, New Jersey, and other races coming in this week, a narrative about recent elections continue: suburban voters continue to sway elections. Here are the suburban patterns I have seen and heard observers discuss:

Photo by Altaf Shah on

-Enthusiasm among suburban Democrats was down in 2021 compared to 2020.

-Suburbanites were worried and/or angry about schools, whether that was for prolonged closures due to COVID-19 or concerns over curriculum and administrator control as opposed to parents.

-While Biden won over more suburban independent voters, enough tilted back to Republicans in these elections.

-This is a backlash involving race where white voters are exercising their influence.

As pundits, politicians, and academics sort out these multiple and possibly overlapping factors, this is a reminder of two things: (1) suburban voters continue to remain important in American elections (and both Democrats and Republicans are trying to appeal to them) and (2) the patterns and consequences of complex suburbia are not necessarily easy to predict.

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