Democrats: What Women Want?
Democratic consultants and activists have seen the future, and the future is single women. At least when it comes to the base vote for the 2008 presidential race.
In a lunch briefing today hosted by the Center for American Progress, experts including pollster Stan Greenberg and Page Gardner, president of Women's Voices, Women Vote Action Fund argued that unmarried women now rank as one of the Democratic Party's most reliable and important political supporters.
With the number of unmarried, separated, divorced and widowed American women now equal to the number of married women, Gardner said, this group represents 26 percent of the eligible voting population and is "the fastest-growing large demographic group in the country."
However unlike Carrie Bradshaw and her Manolo Blahnik-wearing friends on the now-defunct series "Sex and the City," these single women are more focused on issue like ending the war in Iraq and better health care access, according to Gardner: "These women are worried about paying the rent, not marrying Mr. Big."
Greenberg, who released a Democracy Corps poll yesterday examining the voting habits of single women, said this demographic now amounts to "the Democrats' evangelicals," in part because evangelicals make up 23 percent of the eligible vote and are just as reliable in their support for the opposite party, the GOP.
"What happens to these two groups is going to be quite critical in this election," Greenberg said, noting that two-thirds of single women backed the Democrats in 2006.
CAP president John Podesta told reporters that single women's political influence will be critical in a race he predicted would center on economic mobility, universal health care coverage, energy transformation, national security and Iraq. And Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, said his organization would make sure voters understood the 2008 election will be about a "change in policies."
Of course, reaching single women isn't easy, especially those with fewer economic resources. Gardner said her group has started using the social networking site Facebook to reach out to female unmarried voters according to age: "It's enormously successful." However last election her group tried text messaging single women voters, and "Although it was incredibly fun to do, it was incredibly not successful."
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