Women Leaving GOP For Democratic Party
A new poll suggests that women are now returning to their traditional fold — in the Democratic party:
The gender gap is now 25 years old and, according to recent polling, it is alive and well.
A Democratic polling memo released yesterday found that women, who voted for President Bush last year in large numbers, have begun migrating back to their traditional home in the Democratic Party as the public’s agenda has shifted from homeland security and terrorism to domestic concerns such as jobs and the economy.
There has long been a gender gap between the parties, with women tending to vote Democratic in disproportionate numbers. Bush all but closed that gap last year, losing the female vote to Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) by three percentage points. But the memo pointed to a March survey that found women favoring Democrats when asked which party’s candidates they would support if congressional elections were held today.
The memo, released by Lake Snell Perry Mermin & Associates Inc., found women picked unnamed Democratic congressional candidates over Republicans by a 13-point margin. It also found that several key groups of women who voted Republican last year are now evenly or almost evenly split between the parties. Married women are now evenly split, while white women favor Democrats by three percentage points. Kerry lost both groups by 11 points.
“Homeland security and terrorism dominated the public’s security agenda for several years following September 11th,” the memo said. “However, the current focus appears to have shifted from safeguarding against terrorism to a stronger emphasis on issues that hit home financially. In dozens of recent focus groups among many different cohorts of women, concerns like retirement, health care and economic security are trumping the sorts of homeland security concerns that dominated women’s issue agenda before the last election.”
Usually any poll results showing a shift sparks a controversy over the methodology used. And guess what:
Some pollsters questioned the survey’s methodology, objecting to its comparison between actual candidates’ performances at the polls and the theoretical takes of unnamed candidates. Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, who issued the memo, defended the methodology, saying, “There’s not really anything else we have.”
Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway said that she could not comment on the specifics of the polls but that she agreed with the general thrust of Lake’s findings. “Women, if left to their own devices, are going to tend and trend Democratic. That is absolutely the case,” she said. “Women are still congenitally Democratic — and I’m the Republican pollster saying that.”
It’ll be interesting to see what happens in polling a few months down the road. Is this just some women voters returning to their political roots, or part of a larger migration?
If you had to place bets today you would say that based on the power politics (votes) alone (1)John Bolton will get through as US Ambassador to the UN, (2)the nuclear option will be ignited as planned (and over the past few hours fanned by President George Bush who is urging and up and down vote soon) and the GOP will win on that within the next two weeks, (3)Tom DeLay won’t be going anywhere in terms of Congress, unless there is some MAJOR charge that emerges in the investigations of him in Texas…and probably not even then.
So right now everything the GOP is going seems to have consolidation of White House power and/or shoring up the GOP’s religious right base as the priority. Will swing voters and centrists (even though the far right and far left contend centrists don’t mean anything politically anymore) decide the GOP tent has become too small for them? It would seem, from this poll at last, that some women voters don’t feel their needs are being met. Is this a small expected erosion or the start of a greater exodus?