Thursday, January 17, 2008

Courting Single Women Voters: Bring Change

Single women turned out in droves in Iowa and New Hampshire. About time these babes showed up! According to census data, 46 percent of voting-age women nationwide are unmarried, but they made up a lame 22.4 percent of voters in 2004 and a truly shameful 19 percent in the debacle of 2000. These single women seem especially partial to Democrats -- in fact, unmarried women are much more likely to crush on the Dems than women overall. Since Michigan was such an unfortunate aberration (see January 15, 2008 blog), inquiring minds want to know if Nevada and South Carolina will similarly showcase single women flexing their electoral muscle.

An empowered block of sex-in-the-city voters is a flashing neon smiley face for the Democrats. If single women continue to speak their minds in greater numbers and stay faithful to the Democrats to boot, it could swing the partisan pendulum in November and beyond -- potentially cementing the new majorities in Congress for years to come. But the Democrats need a plan to cash in on all this love coming their way, because unmarried women -– more than any voting block -- are the most dissatisfied with the way things are going ‘round the neighborhood. Can you say CHANGE? Well, we know the candidates can -- over and over and over again (currently, they're trying to say it a lot in Spanish or with a Southern drawl). But can the Democrats actually deliver -- that's the vital question, and single women are demanding answers. If Big Blue can convince single women voters, it could be a marriage made in electoral heaven.

And women voters overall continue to kick ass and take names in the primaries. Enter, again, the Edwards Factor. Tongues are still waging about Hillary's netting 47 percent of the women's vote in New Hampshire to overcome Obama's Iowa-influenced polling advantage. But, insightful observers note that the Granite state's outcome demonstrates the impact of a three-way race. Obama drew about the same percentage of women voters in New Hampshire as he did in the cornfield caucuses; it was Edwards' lapse with the ladies that created Clinton's gain. Similarly, it was Edwards who pulled the rug out from under Hillary in Iowa; lots of women caucused for him in 2004 and stood by their man this year as well.

Notably, women voters seem to be the deciding factor on both sides of the aisle. Obama and Huckabee wooed us in Iowa, Hillary and McCain got our come back support in New Hampshire -- even Romney in the bllink-and-you-miss-it Wyoming GOP caucus -- all won at least in part by carrying the plurality of women.

So, onward to Nevada, South Carolina and Florida, then to the 23-state elections on Feb. 5. In the past this was called Super Tuesday, but in this year of all election years, everything's changing -- and the first Tuesday in February is no exception. Given that it's been super-sized since 2004 -- when only seven states went to the polls -- folks have been calling it "Super-Duper Tuesday" or "Super Nuclear Tuesday ." Me? I think I'll be calling it Ladies Night Out, and I'm hoping the girls really strut their stuff.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Iowa is one of only two states in the union (the other is Mississippi) that have never elected a woman to state-wide office. Much was made of how Iowa women caucused – especially by the pundits - , but I'm not sure that is particularly meaningful, given the history of women candidates in that state.

The way women voted in New Hampshire (a real vote, by the way) was far more a good test of how women voters are likely to break, at least in the Northeast.

In any case, we’ve been waiting since 1920 for the women’s vote to really take hold in this country and it looks like 2008 might just be the year!