- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partyers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
The race was on for independent women voters
Candidates stage an all-out effort to woo key bloc
Question of the Day
First came the mail, at least two pieces a day, little fliers and big, glossy books. Next came the neighborhood canvassers, knocking on the front door of their Falls Church home, almost a half-dozen visits. Then there were the phone calls. So many calls. Three of them on the night before Election Day, all in the same hour, each from President Obama’s campaign, asking to speak with Kristina Cartwright — and not her husband, Jamie.
Does Ms. Cartwright plan to vote? Does she need a ride to her polling place?
“I’ll pick up the phone, and they have no questions about me whatsoever, don’t want to know,” Mr. Cartwright said with a laugh. “I vote. But I might as well be some random guy in the house.”
A 37-year old international development worker and mother of three, Mrs. Cartwright is also a registered independent female voter in a key battleground state. Which makes all the difference.
“It’s weird being targeted, and I didn’t figure it out at first,” she said. “I figured I was just missing the calls that Jamie was getting. But he’s a man and a registered Republican. So he hasn’t gotten any.”
The 2012 presidential campaign was many things: a choice between competing visions for the future of the nation; an anonymous corporate cash-fueled post-Citizens United economic stimulus plan for swing state local television stations; a showdown between a self-disciplined family man who went to Harvard Law and a self-disciplined family man who went to Harvard Law.
In many ways, however, it was primarily a contest for the female portion of the electorate, with Mr. Obama’s campaign attempting to exploit and expand a potentially decisive Democrat-Republican gender gap — the same gap Mitt Romney’s campaign sought to minimize and narrow.
Mr. Obama’s repeated, non-sequiturial mentions of education policy during the first two presidential debates? Mr. Romney’s much-mocked binders of women? Constant talk about abortion and contraception, with Democratic surrogates hyping up a “War on Women” and Republican surrogates scoffing at the same? All part of a bipartisan war for women, including Mrs. Cartwright.
“I think that’s exactly what we’ve seen,” said Jennifer Lawless, director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University. “Virginia is a perfect example. I can’t turn on the television without seeing an ad about how [Republican Senate candidate] George Allen and Mitt Romney will ensure that women will have no rights, ever. And I can’t change the channel without some other woman saying, ‘no, no, no, these guys are actually good.’
“Of course, it’s not that surprising. There has been a gap in every election since the 1980s.”
Minding the gap
The demographic and electoral math is plain. Women make up more than half of the populace. They are more likely to vote than men. While a majority of women have voted for the Democratic candidate in five consecutive presidential elections, a majority of men have done so only twice, in 1992 and 2008.
Why the split between the sexes? Political scientists have found that women are more likely to support social safety-net programs and less likely to support wars and military campaigns than men, two factors that generally favor Democrats. According to both Ms. Lawless and pollster John Zogby, conservative positions on abortion and contraception also have hurt the Republican Party’s appeal with women.
A pre-election Gallup poll of female registered voters in 12 key states found that 39 percent of women ranked abortion as the most important issue for women in the 2012 election, and that 60 percent of those same voters rated government policies on birth control as an extremely or very important issue.
By contrast, registered male voters in the same poll did not include abortion among their top 10 most-important issues.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
- Taking to Twitter: Everybody's Oscar night in 140 characters
- Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin cry foul at WWE Tea Party stereotypes
- Oscar Pistorius and the 'roid rage' defense: It's no Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card
- Spatial media: Astronaut Chris Hadfield live chats from 220 miles above earth
- Hero-worship for a cold-blooded killer: The cult of Christopher Dorner
By Matt Kibbe
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- KIBBE: Another Republican budget surrender
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow