A Walk Down the Aisle to Republicanville?

In Ruth Rosen’s latest piece for The Nation, she discusses Women Really On Their Own–i.e. single women voters. While it has effectively been drilled into our heads that 22 million single women didn’t vote in the last election, Rosen explores the impact that “single” status is having on the vote. Her conclusion–“Memo to politicians and the political parties: The difference between married and unmarried women’s political views is greater and more decisive than the gender gap.” (sigh). It turns out that there is a *huge* difference in how the single gal and married gal votes.
Recent polling data from Democracy Corps, found that single women favor Kerry over Bush by almost 26%, while married women prefer Bush over Kerry by 2%. Ugh. And a National Annenberg Election Survey taken in July found that out of 1,641 adults polled, 55% of married women supported Bush’s job in the White House, while only 43% of single women approved. The poll found a similar “marriage gap” among women on questions of Bush’s handling of the economy, the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq. When respondents were asked about abortion, 28% of married women said they strongly favor banning all abortion compared with 19% of single women. While both of those numbers scare me, that’s a *big* gap.
Adam Clymer, political director of the survey, hypothesized that single respondents were more negative towards Bush because they tend to have lower incomes and be younger. Rosen also chalks up the gap to greater economic security among married women. Is it really that simple, though? If I slip on a wedding ring and become privy to an economic bump up, will I suddenly fall *that* out of touch? I’m sorry, but I don’t understand how a walk down the aisle would suddenly land me in bed with the Bush regime. (sigh).
Rosen also notes that for all of the discussion of the Sex and the City voter at the start of the election season, neither candidate has really done much to reach out to single women. “Instead of addressing the everyday security needs of “women on their own,” both candidates pandered to (largely married) “security moms” who were supposedly obsessed by the prospect of terrorist attacks…True, John Kerry and John Edwards went on talk shows popular with women, but they talked about how they would fight terrorism. And yes, Bush’s website has a section called “W Stands for Women,” but it does not address concerns these women view as critical to their lives. It was only during the last few weeks of the campaign that Kerry rolled out a new stump speech that directly addressed women’s economic security.”
Chris Desser, co-director of Women’s Voices. Women Vote, notes that, “[N]early one-third of unmarried women polled said their main reason for not voting is that they believe their lives will not improve, no matter who is elected.” While there are undoubtedly many *very* strong economic & reproductive rights arguments for how Kerry will substantially impact the lives of women if elected, it’s a shame that we’re nearing the eve of the election and finding that Kerry hasn’t made a strong enough pitch to inspire the potential mass of young, single women voters.
Come on, I’m looking for your thoughts. Like, why do *you* think there is such a big “marriage gap” among the ladies? And how inspired do you feel about stepping into the voter’s box on Tuesday? Other thoughts?

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