Single women put Barack Obama in the White House. Their overwhelming vote in 2008 proved decisive, but the failed economy has put that support in jeopardy. President Obama and his allies on Capitol Hill have created the false narrative that Republicans are waging a war against women to win back the single, white females who have turned against Mr. Obama in droves.
In the last presidential election, 70 percent of unmarried women voted for Mr. Obama, according to the liberal polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. John McCain only won married women, by a much narrower 50 to 47 margin. By 2010, Democrats had lost the enthusiasm of single women. Half of white, unmarried women voted Republican in the midterms and overall support for Democrats among single women dropped to 57 percent.
Democrats hope to recapture this demographic with the Violence Against Women Act. Senate Democrats have added poison pills to the legislation in order to force Republicans to oppose the bill when it comes up at the end of the month.
This is nothing more than a political ruse that will have no effect on the November election. The law, which funds law enforcement programs and women's shelters for victims of domestic violence, had bipartisan support both times it was reauthorized since its enactment in 1994. The latest version from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat, is carelessly written to appeal to the party's liberal constituencies.
For Hispanic voters, Mr. Leahy added a provision to increase by 50 percent the number of visas given to immigrants who claim to need to stay in the country to help criminal investigations. Ranking committee member Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, was outvoted when he tried to include reasonable limitations on granting these visas, such as requiring that the crime be under active investigation and not beyond the statute of limitations. The Senate also added a provision designed to appeal to homosexual activist groups clarifying the bill's benefits also apply to same-sex partners.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, voted against the bill in the Judiciary Committee. "Democrat leaders are manufacturing fake controversies in a clever attempt to distract from a record they cannot defend," he told The Washington Times.
Democrats are making a tactical mistake to assume women will put social issues over the economy in 2012. Less than 1 percent of women said they make their decision based on issues like contraception, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll earlier this month. Fifty-eight percent say the top issue is the economy.
The downturn hits single women the hardest because they don't have a second paycheck to fall back on if they lose their job or face higher bills. As radio host Laura Ingraham says, "If there is a war on women, it's on women's pocketbooks and it's being waged by President Obama." If single, white females turn out in November, they might very well deny Mr. Obama his second term.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.
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