It’s time to put those post-presidential debate polls that show women shifting on the candidates into perspective. And it’s time to take a closer look at the marriage gap — the difference in voting participation and preferences between married and unmarried women. The group to key on for the next four weeks is single women. They make up more than a quarter of the voting age population and at 55 million strong, they have the power to decide major races in 2012 – if they show up to vote.
In 2008, these women voted overwhelmingly for change. But this year – many of them are thinking of switching their 2008 vote or staying home. To understand more about these dynamics, Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund (WVWVAF) and Democracy Corps engaged in a three-phase research project with a particular emphasis on disengaged voters, Obama defectors, and unmarried women.
And what we learned is that there is a clear path and opportunity to motivate and turnout these women who are among the most economically vulnerable in this country and who consider themselves part of the 47 percent. They are hungry for a strong economic message about specific policies and programs to be implemented going forward that touch their lives directly. And the research makes clear single women — as part of the 47 percent — see everything from income inequality to women’s reproductive health services as part of, not separate from, the economic realities that define their lives.