Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

Women In Virginia

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While the black vote certainly played a part in Obama’s victory in Virginia, so did his victory amongst women in Virginia.

According to the South Bend Tribune, Obama won “53 to 46 in Virginia.” On a national level the gaffes made on the local level created enough of a disruption to oust those that committed the gaffes,” gender-based gaffes from Missouri Republican Todd Akin and Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock, without any question, lost those senatorial seats for their party.”

Both campaigns sought the female vote with an intensity that will continue to grow according to the Washington Times,”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.”

Courting the female vote will continue to make a difference as women outnumber men in population and voting mobility, “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.”

The Republican party will continue to have a difficult time attracting young female voters, “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,” the Washington Times reports.

The second presidential debate became a critical point for each candidate to define themselves when it came to women’s issues, “The fight for female voters intensified this week after the town-hall-style debate in Hempstead, N.Y., which included a question about equal pay for women that prompted a clash between the candidates over who would better serve women’s needs.”

This put the Romney campaign on the defensive and continued to ignite a battle that the candidate had been fighting the entire campaign. Romney defended his views in the last few weeks of the campaign, particularly in swing states according to the New York Times,”That debate spilled onto the airwaves, with Mr. Romney’s campaign quickly releasing an ad contending that he does not oppose contraception and believes that abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest, and to save the life of the mother.”

This was particularly seen in Virginia as Northern Virginia maintains much of the state’s population and maintains a large population of young single women, “Nowhere is the fight for women voters more intense than Virginia, where women made up 54 percent of the vote in 2008, 1 percentage point higher than nationally, and helped make Obama the first Democrat to win the state since 1964. In the past year, the state has become a hotbed for women’s issues, with attempted bans on abortion and passage of a bill requiring women to get an ultrasound exam before going through with an abortion. Democrats have sought to link Romney to such policies,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

As each party continues the struggle for national dominance they will need to look to female voters to evaluate their policies and priorities.

 

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