Were Women a Factor in the Democratic Shellacking of 2014?
Stung by the Democrats who abandoned him during Campaign 2014 by telling voters that President Obama wasn’t on the ballot, the president insisted that his policies were and that those Democrats voted consistently for his policies. At that point, I’m sure, those senators and representatives cringed, but voters recognized the truth of what the president said and voted a resounding repudiation of both the president and his policies. That said, a burning question remains: “What about those unmarried women who put him in office in 2008 and kept him there in 2012?”
My assessment of the CNN exit poll data affirms the validity of a famous saying by one of the president’s heroes. Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” This year’s midterm election showed that a significant number of unmarried women saw through the spin to the reality of living under Obama policies. There was a 7 percentage point drop in the share of unmarried women voting for Democrats in 2014 compared to 2012 (67% to 60%) and an increase of 7 percentage points from unmarried women voting for the GOP (31% to 38%). In 2008, the unmarried women’s preference had been even sharper, resulting in a 40 percentage point gap (70% to 30%) favoring Obama over McCain. So, the downward slide in the gap in percentage points for unmarried women voting Democrat went from +40 in 2008, to +36 in 2012 to +22 in 2014, a starting drop of 18 percentage points.
This information doesn’t fully answer the famous question, “What do women really want?” Ergo, are cell phones, food stamps, free contraceptives, and abortions at the top of their agenda? Obviously, for many of the 15 million unmarried women 20-34 years of age without children (those most likely to be liberal and of whom 26 percent of are not in the labor force), those items may fill the bill. Whatever the case, the tired Democrats’ “war on women” rhetoric, their expansion of entitlement policies, and their ground game all fell short in driving enough of them to the polls for the mid-year election.
But what of the nearly 36 million women with children under 18? About 25 million of these women are married. They tend to be more conservative and vote pocketbook issues. Then there are 11 million unmarried women with children under 18. One suspects they may be more focused on policies that promote jobs than on free cell phones, at least the more mature ones.
The more liberal younger half of this group, those 20-34 years of age, have been particularly hard hit by the lack of job creation over the last 4 years. Their unemployment rate in 2013 was over 18 percent. Plus those who have been able to hold down full-time jobs has shrunk from 45 percent in 2007 to just 38 percent in 2013. As best I can remember, one of the few things Obama did not promise was that “if you like your full-time job, you can keep your full-time job.”
In spite of the president’s post-election press conference comments about how well everyone is doing and his unbelievable litany of economic achievements, we are looking at hard economic realities. The role they played in determining how unmarried women voted was crucial in determining control of the Senate. In this for once he was correct; Obama’s policies were on the ballot and even the nation’s “Julia’s” saw through the phony claims.
Obama recently said, “Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. That’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”
He might as well have bluntly stated that children and family don’t count. In the progressive world view all that counts is career and money?
If that is the case -- and certainly he implied that -- it was another insult to women, the majority of whom research shows want a balanced life that includes a husband and family. It was also another indication that the president doesn’t understand reality: Many of the women hearing him are among those who can’t find one of those good jobs that Obama’s said his policies would create. Many others are victims of the downsizing made necessary by ObamaCare regulations or other Obama policies that have left many small businesses and non-profits scrambling to survive.
The radical left has done a grave disservice to American women by positing all their worth in the marketplace. As the rose-colored glasses are coming off, those unmarried moms are finding out just how empty all the political promises are; how hard it is to find one of those “good jobs” and, how hard it is to manage job, kids, and home all alone. They’ve had enough guys promise the moon and then disappear when the going gets tough; it appears that many of them are wising up to Obama and recognizing the Dreamer’s empty promises for the myths that they are. It’s certainly about time.
Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., a former Bush I Presidential Speechwriter, is an author, commentator and columnist. She writes regularly for American Thinker.