Much like the infamous undecided voter, the female voter is extremely important in the upcoming presidential election. Not only do women outnumber men at the polls, but a higher percentage of women than men will vote. It has been said that Romney is winning the female vote. When contemplating this statement, several questions come to mind.
First, is Romney winning the female vote? Recent polls show that President Obama maintains the lead among female voters not only nationally, but in the end-all, be-all of swing states: Ohio. In states like Florida and Virginia, polls are too close to accurately predict which candidate will win the female vote.
Second, who are the female voters? As Elizabeth Flock of US News & World Report states, “[W]omen aren’t a monolithic voting bloc.” If Romney is, in fact, winning the female vote, which female is favoring him? According to a recent Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP poll, single women favor Obama, while married women favor Romney. The Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund asserts that unmarried women, a significant portion of the rising American electorate, have a major impact on “progressive victories.” On the other hand, unmarried women participate less in the political process than married women. In fact, 40% of unmarried, female voters are not registered to vote.
Marital status is not the only factor influencing the female electorate. The economy is another key area of concern, for both men and women. The Romney campaign’s Women’s Coalition Director, Courtney Johnson, stressed that the success of Romney’s message, which focuses on how the economy affects women, explains growing support among the female voting bloc for the GOP candidate. Johnson stated that Romney is “making sure that women everywhere are hearing [his] plan to restore America as the best place in the world for a woman to find a job, start a business, and raise a family.” However, pandering to women voters by emphasizing economic issues does not mean that social issues such as reproductive rights will not impact the final results.
Both candidates are targeting women voters to increase their chances for a victory. While married women tend to support Romney and unmarried women lean towards Obama, what might matter most is which candidate wins the support of the women who actually go to the polls.