Why women will rock the vote

Women voters are important to candidates.
Women voters are important to candidates.
Hillary Clinton is not the first woman to run for president. That distinction belongs to Victoria Claflin Woodhull, an Equal Rights Party candidate who, in 1872, tossed her hat into the ring with Ulysses S. Grant, a Republican, and Horace Greeley, a Democrat. 

    This was nearly 50 years before women's suffrage. And between then and now, other women -- both Republicans and Democrats -- have declared themselves candidates for the White House, according to the website Presidential Gender Watch. 
     Now, 227 years after George Washington first took the oath of office, Clinton is making her second run for the job. This election could be an overdue historic first for women, but it is also significant in another sense. As in recent years, women voters could determine who ultimately sits in the Oval Office. This is why:
  • There are simply more women voters.

    As of 2014, women made up 52 percent of the voting-age population, according to the U.S. Census. Among the most watched voter blocs are the so-called “Walmart Moms.”
    These are women voters with children 18 or younger who shop at Walmart at least once a month, according to Public Opinion Strategies and Momentum Strategies.
     In an election-night survey during the 2012 race between President Barack Obama and the Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the two polling organizations  found, “While President Obama garnered a healthy margin among all women voters, Walmart Moms tracked closely with the overall electorate and were much more divided in their final vote decision. President Obama won all female voters in this survey by 12 points (55 percent Obama/43 percent Romney), compared to his narrow margin among all voters (50 percent Obama/48 percent Romney) and swing voter Walmart Moms (50 percent Obama/48 percent Romney)." See: Walmart Moms' Final Vote Decision; Public Opinion Strategies and Momentum Analysis.

  • Women are also more likely to vote.
    The U.S. Census study found: "In 2014, 43.0 percent of women reported voting, compared with 40.8 percent of men."
  • Some issues consistently discussed during the election cycle are more relevant to women and more likely to become hot topics during the race.
     Reproduction rights come to mind, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. The pay gap between men and women has narrowed, but it persists. In 2013, women’s earnings were 82 percent of men’s, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A Gallup poll in 2014 found 40 percent of Americans said equal pay was the top issue facing working women.
    Also, women in the U.S. were significantly more likely than men to say that climate change was a “somewhat or very serious problem,” according to a Pew Research Center survey reported in December.
  •  Intense coverage magnifies a candidate's gaffes and can draw attention to views many women find objectionable.

     Here’s a statistic likely to worry many in the Republican political universe: Seven in 10 women have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump, according to Gallup.com. The tracking poll was actually done before Trump voiced controversial views on abortion during questioning on MSNBC last week. (Trump said there “has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions. His campaign later walked that back, saying that he meant there should be punishment for abortion providers.)
     Nearly 6 in 10 men told Gallup they also view Trump unfavorably in interviews March 1-28.


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