There has been much word nigh the demographic makeup of the 2012 electorate, and one thing is clear: Women’s voices adamant the outcome of the ballot. Across the board, women made the difference. Hither are seven key facts about women voters and the gender gap in the 2012 elections.
1. Women were the majority of voters.
According to exit polls 53 percent of the voters in the 2012 elections were women—more than one out of every two voters beyond the state was a woman. Moreover, 55 percent of those women cast votes for President Barack Obama. Women who voted for President Obama fabricated up 29 percent—well-nigh one-third—of the electorate.
2. The gender gap grew to 10 points.
The gender gap is defined as the margin between men and women’s back up for a candidate. It’s the best way to measure how men and women’s voting patterns differ. According to official 2012 exit polls, President Barack Obama had a ten-betoken gender gap over his Republican rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Paw Romney—higher than in near (but not all) presidential races since 1980.
3. Women decided the election.
This past November women adamant the outcome of the presidential election. Only in President Bill Clinton’southward 1996 victory did a candidate succeed by winning with women and losing with men. Again, co-ordinate to official exit polls, in both of their first terms in function, President Obama and President Clinton won with both genders. In neither of his campaigns did President George West. Bush win with women, although previous Republican presidents did.
4. The gender gap extends across women of color.
The gender gap widened considerably with Latinos and African Americans this twelvemonth, but as well with whites. While President Obama’s support with white women declined, his gender gap among whites grew and was the same as former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s gender gap in 2006 and larger than President Clinton’south 1992 gender gap amidst whites. It was as well larger than the gender gap among whites in the last four midterm elections.
5. The top issues for women were the economy and a candidate who volition fight for them.
Ballgame may have been salient, only jobs and the economy are nonetheless the principal business organisation. Polling business firm Momentum Analysis conducted a bipartisan study of “Walmart moms”—women with kids younger than age eighteen and who accept shopped at a Walmart at to the lowest degree once within the by calendar month—and found abortion lagged behind the economy as a vote driver for these women. Similarly, according to the official go out polls, Gov. Romney bested President Obama past approximately fourteen points with the iii-fourths of the electorate who said the most important candidate qualities were that he “shares my values,” “is a stiff leader,” or “has a vision.” Merely President Obama trounced Gov. Romney by 63 points with the one-fifth of voters who said “cares about people like me” was the near important value.
6. Extreme remarks and candidates inverse the debate.
The election highlighted many candidates’ farthermost views on women—not but those who made public gaffes. Much was written, of class, most Senate candidates Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) and Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s extreme comments on women and ballgame. Simply in that location was a lot more where that came from, including, many contend, from Republican vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The campaign dorsum and forth helped delineate the boundaries of what’s acceptable—both as political speech and as policy.
7. Abortion and women’due south wellness problems played a existent role.
These extreme views might have driven many women voters to the arms of Democrats. A Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research postelection poll of women who supported President Obama in 2008 and an early Dec national poll for Planned Parenthood Action Fund both show the issues of abortion and access to nascency command helped President Obama more than than Gov. Romney. The Planned Parenthood survey establish 69 per centum of women—5 percentage points higher than all voters—had heard, seen, or read something well-nigh Gov. Romney’s plan to “get rid of” federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
With women deciding the presidential ballot, and with record numbers of women in both the House and the Senate, policies helping women must at present be on the front burner. Women determined the outcome of the style the regime looks, and it is time for lawmakers to answer the telephone call of the bulk of voters in the country and brand certain economic fairness, pay disinterestedness, and problems of piece of work-family balance are on the superlative of the policy agenda.
Margie Omero is the president and founder of Momentum Analysis, LLC, a public opinion enquiry firm based in Washington, D.C. Tara McGuinness is the Senior Vice President for Communications at the Center for American Progress.
The Election of 2008 Was Historically Significant for Women Because