To better understand this year's, CBS News has identified key groups of voters whose motivations go beyond party labels. They include "pressured parents," who are concerned about inflation and their children's well-being in the .
CBS News sat down with three parents in the Philadelphia suburbs to talk about the issues driving their midterm vote, as the group could be the difference in Pennsylvania's high-stakes election and could help determine who controls Congress.
Heather Emery, a registered Republican, said crime is one of her top concerns.
"We have to do something on crime," Emery said. "We have to change that for our children."
Lisa Nelson-Haynes, a registered Democrat, said she's concerned about abortion access.
"I am concerned about the lack of self-agency and governance that I have in terms of my body or that my daughter has," Nelson-Haynes said. "And I don't understand the conversation when, you know, you hear people say, 'My body, my choice is baloney.' But it wasn't when you were talking about wearing a mask."
Gerry Gant, a registered Libertarian, named inflation his top concern.
All three parents said they've had to adjust their lifestyles because of inflation. Emery said she's only buying necessities, and that her kids have noticed. Gant said his teenage son is "eating us out of house and home."
"I think about things more when I'm going shopping," Nelson-Haynes said.
These are the issues at the center of the U.S. Senate race between. Gant said neither candidate is a good option and he'll probably vote third party.
The group all had concerns about the pandemic's impact on their children, but they differed on who is to blame.
"They're incredibly behind," Emery said. "And I don't know if they're going to be able to dig — like we can dig our kids out, right?"
"There were milestones that were missed and there were, with that, there has been an assumption of kind of tempering your dreams and aspirations," Nelson-Haynes said.
"Every institution failed them over the past two, three years," Gant said.
The parents also said they feel anxious or scared. But they each noted the importance of their votes in the election.
"Everyone that I know understands that it's vital that they vote," Nelson-Haynes said.
"I really think every vote is going to make a difference this year," Emery added.
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