A sample cross section of nightly political talk shows reveals an intense interest in the female vote. Some of the commentary is correct, some of it is wrong.
In Presidential Elections, women tend to vote more democratic and men tend to vote more republican. However, a crucial difference is that a republican candidate can win the Presidency without the female vote, while a democratic candidate has yet to do so in the modern era. Modern era is commonly accepted as being 1980 to current day. For the sake of this post, we will deal with 2000 - current day. The reason being the explosion of the internet and the resulting access to information.
Why is the female vote so important? According to exit polls, in 2000 52% of the voters were women, in 2004 it was 54% and in 2008 it was 53%. In 2000, women voted 55% for Gore and 43% Bush. In 2004, women voted 51% for Kerry and 48% for Bush. In 2008, 56% of women voted for Obama and 43% voted for John McCain. Exit polls are really more of an approximation than an exact science. With phone polling people tend to be more honest, and you can use different tools to weight the results more accurately. Still, between exit polling, actual voter turnout, and voter registration it is clear that more women vote than men. Using very accurate turnout numbers, in 2008 nearly 10,000,000 more women voted than men, and the exit polling spread of 53-47 is consistent enough. Clearly, this is a big deal. Now we have to figure out the female voter.
Female voters are motivated by different things than male voters. Women tend to be more involved with real world, day to day decisions than men. Who handles the medical care for the family? Who has the most input in large purchases like the house and furnishings? Who handles groceries, clothing, and the bills? All of this is just a sample, and while there are of course exceptions to the rule, this is the reality of many female voters lives. Additionally, women think quite differently than men. Men are more numbers and abstract concept driven than women. Women are more detail oriented and empathetic than men. HOWEVER, we all want essentially the same things: good schools, good jobs, safe places to live, and a sense of stability. So, to reach the female voter, you have to deliver the same message, just in a more intelligent fashion. (If you want to know the exact details of this, I am for hire). In an earlier post I commented that campaigning on reproductive rights to get the female vote was not going to work, and all of this is a big reason why. In addition, despite what you may hear on the news, this is really a non-issue meant to scare women into voting. In my analysis, the female voter is far, far too canny to fall for this. Most people are pro-choice, and it's not something that will be - or should be, especially considering the current economy - on the itinerary to be addressed.
So how do you get the female vote? It's actually quite simple, all you have to do is give them an explanation. Explain to them what it is you want to do, how you plan to do it, and do so in a smart and reasonable manner.
As a reminder, the RNC Convention in Tampa, Florida this week. For you, my loyal readers, I will watch, analyze, and report on anything that will have an effect on the election. Unless things change more due to Hurricane Issac, the notable speeches will most likely be Ann Romney (Tuesday), Chris Christie (Tuesday), and VP Nominee Paul Ryan (Wednesday). Hmm, I wonder what's going on Thursday?...