Thursday, November 06, 2008

Women as Voters and Campaign Donors

In 2004, white women voters were evenly split between George W. Bush and John Kerry, but learned toward Obama in this race (10/31 Center for American Women and Politics press release):

National presidential polls find white women either evenly divided between the presidential candidates or favoring Senator Obama, according to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP). This marks a shift from the 2004 presidential election, when the exit polls from Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International found that 55 percent of white women voted for President Bush and 44 percent for Senator Kerry. “This shift in support among white women from 2004 to 2008 is one reason Obama is faring better than Senator Kerry did in the last election,” observes CAWP director Debbie Walsh.

A gender gap is evident among white voters, as it is among voters overall. In recent national polls, gender gaps among white women range from 3 to 12 percentage points, depending on the particular poll, with white women more likely than white men to support Senator Obama.

There is no notable gender difference among black voters; polls have consistently shown that about nine of every ten black voters – women and men – support Obama. The Center’s latest review of polls is part of Women’s Vote Watch, a weekly look at the women’s vote in the 2008 presidential election. Polling data can be found at

Breaking it down further, single women (though it was not separated out for race) were even more likely to support Obama (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for Womens Voices Womens Votes, reported 10/31)

A recent survey of 1,030 likely women voters underscores these points. Unmarried women are nearly as energized as married women and support Barack Obama by a 62 - 33 percent margin. In contrast, the presidential race is only tied (45 - 48 percent McCain) among married women.

Unmarried women also seem to be playing a disproportionate role in the wave of early voting we are experiencing. Fully one in four (23 percent) plan to vote early, compared to 16 percent among married women.

And this research proved correct come election day:

November 5, 2008. Washington, DC. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research congratulates its client, Women’s Voices. Women Vote, on focusing attention on a critical—and until last night—unheralded group of voters. Last night unmarried women supported Barack Obama by a stunning 70 to 29 percent margin according to calculations based on the Edison/Mitofsky National Election Pool published by CNN. This margin exceeds the support Obama generated among both younger voters and Hispanic voters. Unmarried women similarly supported Democratic House candidates by a 64 to 29 percent margin, matching their progressive support in the 2006 elections.

In fact looking back at martial status, unmarried women consistently generated large progressive margins, but never as large as we saw last night. In fact, there emerged a 44-point difference in the behavior of married women and unmarried women. If not for the overwhelming support of unmarried women, John McCain would have won the women’s vote and with it, the White House.

Women are also contributing more to political campaigns. In Sept. I sat in on a webinar sponsored by the Womens' Campaign Forum. Their study "Vote With Your Purse 2.0: Women’s Online Giving, Offline Power,” is available as a pdf file. It is interesting reading and a must read for anyone who wants to top into this funding stream. What I took most note of is that women research candidates before donating and often use online resources to do so.

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