Every election cycle, there’s a particular segment of talking heads who become obsessed with the “women vote,” as though female suffrage were still being considered as appropriate to the benefit of modern society. The answer to that question, much to the chagrin of the people who pose it year after f***ing year, is that, while the female vote can have an impact in close years (or can substantiate a landslide), they generally aren’t a good barometer for the nation’s sentiment at large, and, quite honestly, vote on such a bizarre and inconsistent set of criteria, they’re an impossible demographic to accurately predict. Although you can probably accurately predict that they will, at the polls, be crazy as sh*t.
But a complete loss of grip on reality rarely holds the pundit class back from throwing outraged tantrums about how politicians are failing to address the “women vote” and desperately counting the minutes of each debate devoted specifically to “women’s issues,” as though 51% of the voting public were not so much concerned with the state of the economy, the likelihood of Americans to be murdered in cold blood abroad or the possibility that their government is completely bankrupting their children, but rather, what they regularly do with their vagina and whether or not politicians will pay for their gynecological bills. Oh, and occasionally, its assumed all women love teachers. Or something.
At any rate, this cycle has been no exception, and while the Obama campaign has courted the ladyvote by appealing directly to the health, well-being and determined childlessness of their ladyparts, the Romney campaign has focused more closely on economic issues and having a really hot Vice Presidential candidate. Both seem to have some measured success: the former with a bunch of single women who get their voter information from Jersey Shore reruns and magazines that give you diet advice and sex tips (followed by schizophrenic commentary on the oppressive focus society puts on weight and sexual desirability), the latter with suburban mothers, educated professionals, people who are out of work, and people who care not to have the Middle East become a sparkling sea of green glass.
One tactic seems to be working better than the other – at least in the states that matter.
The battle for women, which was apparent in the speakers spotlighted at both political conventions this summer, is likely to help define messages the candidates deliver at the presidential debate Tuesday night and in the TV ads they air during the final 21 days of the campaign. As a group, women tend to start paying attention to election contests later and remain more open to persuasion by the candidates and their ads…
“In every poll, we’ve seen a major surge among women in favorability for Romney” since his strong performance in the first debate, veteran Democratic pollster Celinda Lake says. “Women went into the debate actively disliking Romney, and they came out thinking he might understand their lives and might be able to get something done for them.”
Mother. F***er. Like, literally. Sort of. Not in the gross way.
You know what I mean.
Shocking, I know. Women don’t like to be patronized and bought off with a carrot of free birth control from their religious employer dangled in front of them, are smart enough to have a detailed understanding of complex domestic issues (particularly those that impact their family’s bottom line directly), and the capacity for both empathy and analysis. I realize this is shocking to the Vagina Voter Squad, who routinely limit the female intellect to crotch- and empty-uterus-based considerations, but it’s true. I mean, I’m sure putting Paul Ryan in skintight golf shirts has helped, but it appears the change in polling has been almost entirely based on the fact that women critically evaluate candidates and their plans.
This is problematic for Obama, of course, because Obama won with female voters handily in 2008, while winning male voters by only 1%. With Axelrod playing the numbers game on voter turnout, a significant decrease could force Obama to make a mass appeal, which he hasn’t done and isn’t prepared to do, likely because it requires answering the basic question of whether middle Americans and independents, who were flush with Hope-and-changiness four years ago, are better off now than they were when Obama took office. And that’s probably not going Barack’s way.