Exit Polls Show More Women Vote Democratic Than Men
The “war over women” has been an on-going battle throughout the campaign season. Most experts agree that women will be crucial in determining the next President of the United States.
According to Diana O’Brien, a professor at the University of Southern California and expert in women and politics, President Obama needs votes from the majority of female voters to win the election and to balance out white male voters who historically favor Republic candidates.
She says the Obama campaign has worked to bring women’s issues to the forefront of the election.
“The Obama campaign knows that women are a key demographic. I think there has been a push as a Democratic strategy to make these issues particularly salient,” O’Brien says.
O’Brien says single and minority women are more likely to vote for President Obama. Married white women are more likely to vote for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Chris Tilly, director of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, says middle-aged women voters are an especially important demographic in this election. According to Tilly, younger women tend to lean liberal while older women are often more conservative.
An October USA Today/Gallup poll found that abortion was the most important issue in the election for 39 percent of women in critical swing states. The results were released amid controversial comments by Republican candidates for the Senate in Indiana and Missouri about abortion in cases of rape and incest.
Tilly says these comments likely hurt Republicans in gaining support of undecided women voters.
“The question is to what extend did it swing turnout and undecided voters. My sense…is that the affect probably favored the Democratic side. There was some real concern and even fear over what Republicans would do about reproductive rights,” Tilly said. “I think [the issue] mobilized people who otherwise wouldn’t be mobilized.”
However, Tilly believes that despite the poll, the economy remains at the head of election issues.
“I think the most important issue to everyone is the economy, and I think that’s true for women voters too,” Tilly says. “They’re worried about household budgets and are their kids going to get jobs after graduating college. I think there have been interesting flare ups in reproductive rights, but it isn’t the main issue of the election.”