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 Women Voters 2004

Will it take 22 million women to save the world?

That's the question we ask in the cover story of Ms.' special election issue. Of the 45 million unmarried women in the United States (between the ages of 18 and 64), 22 million of them did not vote in the 2000 presidential election. If they had voted at the same rate as married women, there would have been six million more votes cast.

Who are these women? What issues do they care about? And what are both campaigns doing to woo them to the polls? Ms. magazine looks at the marriage gap, the gender gap, and what it all means in this election.

The coverage continues here. In addition to featuring articles from Ms. and media analysis from our daily blog, ms.musings, we'll keep you updated with the latest poll data and headlines about women voters. When it comes to influence, every election year is the "year of the woman" -- so long as women make themselves heard.

Post-Election Analysis

* Election Poll Analysis Nov. 9
The Gender Gap and Women's Agenda for Moving Forward
Analysis by Lake Snell Perry & Associates, commissioned by Votes for Women 2004

* Preliminary Poll Analysis by Eleanor Smeal Nov. 9
Gender Gap and Women's Votes Pivotal in Close 2004 Election

Articles & Gender Gap Analysis

* Articles from Ms. Magazine's Election Issue
Cover Story: It's the Women, Stupid by Ellen Hawkes (available only in Ms.)
Fighting Words for a Secular America by Robin Morgan
Save the Courts by Donna Brazile
Why the Gender Gap Matters by Eleanor Smeal
Daughterhood is Powerful: An Interview with Vanessa Kerry
Letter from the Editor: So What About That Election? by Elaine Lafferty

* Poll on the Gender Gap web exclusive
Zogby Interactive: state-by-state breakdown (Sept. 13-17)

* Press Conference: Getting Out the Women's Vote Oct. 20
Participants: Eleanor Smeal, Kim Gandy, Marie Wilson and Susan Carroll
Full transcript available here

* Press Conference: Women Voters and the Gender Gap Sept. 29
Participants: Eleanor Smeal, Debbie Walsh and John Russonello
Full transcript available here

* Poll Analysis web exclusive
Gender Gap Alert by Eleanor Smeal
9.23.04 | In the latest issue of Ms. magazine (a special election issue) I wrote about why the gender gap -- the measurable difference in the way women and men vote and view issues -- in this election matters -- really matters.

On Nov. 2, 2004, some 8 million more women than men will vote. Right now, women are the majority of undecided voters. According to Zogby Interactive polls, released just last night, this presidential race is in a "virtual dead heat." Every vote counts. Neither Bush nor Kerry hold a clear cut lead in the electoral college. Zogby, as of September 21, places the electoral count at Kerry 264, Bush 241, with two states (Arkansas and Florida) too close to call. But several other battleground states also are razor-thin.

I know you have been seeing national polls with Bush having a far greater lead. But beware of the polls this year. Some national polls, including Gallup and Newsweek, have a larger percentage of Republicans in their sample than are believed to be the percentage in the electorate. Plus several polls are asking questions right before the presidential preference question that favor Bush. Are we to be surprised by the corporate media pollsters?

Ironically, I am using Zogby polls. Zogby is the Wall Street Journal pollster -- certainly no liberal rag. But Zogby was one of the few pollsters to virtually predict the outcome in 2000 and Zogby is one of the few polls releasing publicly gender data with their state polls. Plus, Zogby's percentage of Democrats (39%), Republicans (35%), and Independents (26%) in its samples is consistent with the last two elections.

Here's the Zogby data by state. Everywhere Kerry is leading in the battleground states -- it is with the women, young people, and Independents breaking his way. Everywhere Bush is leading, it is with men and Independents breaking with him. The gender gap in every key state is the decisive difference.

So beware of nationwide polls -- look principally at statewide battleground polls -- and watch the gender gap. Maybe finally with the race coming down to the wire both candidates will talk to women and women's issues. There are more of us -- and remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said: "It's up to the women."

Ms.Musings Blog
posts on women voters and the election

Security Moms Least Secure Demographic
Presidential Campaign Needs Domestic Coverage

Women Voters Make Headlines

Kerry's Speeches Don't Include the "A" Word
W. vs. Kerry: Choosy Mothers Choose ...
Biology and Public Office
Presenting Kerry's New Narrative
More Than Just An Adoring Gaze
Muscles, Myth and Masculinity
Got Liberation?
Wallace Gushes Over Bush Twins
The Woman of Our Dreams
Vote for W.! He's a Man!
Sex and the City Voters Guide
The Women, the War Hero and the Self-Made Man
The New Macho
Kerry's Choice
Targeting a Target Demographic
So You Say You Want Single Women?


Votes for Women 2004

A project of the non-profit Communications Consortium Media Center, Votes for Women tracks the latest gender gap polls and provides links to women's voting projects and voting guides. There's also a guide to experts on this subject.

The Center for American Women and Politics
In addition to providing information on women candidates and office holders, Rutgers University's CAWP has also kept track of the gender gap and voting behavior in every presidential election since 1980.

The View from Mainstream America: The Catholic Voter in Summer 2004
Catholics for a Free Choice released a poll of likely Catholic voters that reveals where men and women stand on a number of issues, including abortion.

Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2000 (PDF)
The Census Bureau provides a detailed look at the population characteristics of voters, including a breakdown by gender and marital status.

Feminist Majority Election Watch 2000
Extensive coverage of the gender gap at the national and state levels.

Get Out Her Vote 2004

Feminist Majority Foundation is sponsoring a voter registration and education drive on college campuses around the country. Get your own activist toolkit here.

Media Coverage on Women and Voting

* Transcript of Oct. 20 press conference on getting out the women's vote with Eleanor Smeal, Kim Gandy, Marie Wilson and Susan Carroll. This press conference was hosted by Votes for Women 2004.

* Transcript of Sept. 29 press conference on women voters and the gender gap with Eleanor Smeal, Debbie Walsh and John Russonello. This press conference was hosted by Votes for Women 2004.

* Who are the real security moms? Click here for a cartoon by Mikhaela B. Reid

Kerry And Women: Too Little, Too Late | Women's eNews 11/06/04
Single Women With A Single Purpose: Voting | Baltimore Sun 11/03/04
Being A Political Force Involves More Than Just Voting | Kansas City Star 11/02/04
"Security Moms" in Wisconsin Not Easily Labeled After All / L.A. Times 11/01/04
Voting Bloc Of Women Missing Out On The Party / The Mercury News 10/29/04
Women Really On Their Own | The Nation 10/28/04
Candidates' Wives Vie For "A Ridiculous Job" | Chicago Tribune 10/27/04
Strategy Could Turn Women Off | Newsday 10/27/04
All Eyes On Women's Vote | USA Today 10/26/04
Women Undecided in U.S. Election
| BBC 10/24/04
Edwards Pushes to Win Women's Votes | News Observer 10/23/04
Poll: Voters Divided Along Marital Lines | ABC News 10/22/04
Women Lead Undecided Voters | Modesto Bee 10/22/04
Political Gender Gap In R.I. Is Among Nation's Widest | Pawtucket Times 10/22/04
Thinking Moms Matter | Cokie and Steven Roberts (syndicated) 10/22/04
Polls Show Gains for Kerry Among Women in Electorate | New York Times 10/20/04
Meet The X Factor: Undecided Women | New Jersey Star Ledger 10/16/04
The Power To Decide The Election | Chicago Tribune 10/13/04
Courting The Ladies | Chicago Sun Times 10/13/04
Rivals Fiercely Court Moms' Votes | Chicago Tribune 10/12/04
Gender Politics: Candidates Court The Undecided Women's Vote | PBS Online NewsHour 10/12/04
Single Moms: Your Votes Matter | Cleveland Plain Dealer 10/11/04
Intense Effort Underway To Mobilize Female Voters | Women's eNews 10/08/04
The Myth Of 'Security Moms' | Boston Globe 10/07/04
They Mean Business: More Than 10 Million Strong, Women Entrepreneurs Could Be a Powerful Voting Bloc | Chicago Tribune 10/06/04
Deflating The 'Security Moms' Angle | Newsday 10/05/04
What Do Women Want? | Time Magazine 10/04/04
Swing Voters Who Hang Real Loose | Washington Post 10/03/04
Women Key To Kerry's Hopes, Experts Say | Associated Press 10/02/04
Security Mom Bloc Proves Hard to Find | Washington Post 10/01/04
Polls Say Candidates Should Speak to Women | Dallas Morning News 9/30/04
How Should Kerry Talk to Women? | Time Magazine 9/27/04
Mothers of Invention | The New Republic 9/24/04 ("security moms" a myth)
John Kerry: Ladies Man? | CBS News 9/23/04
Why Women are Edging Toward Bush | Christian Science Monitor 9/23/04
Female Support for Kerry Slips; Polls Show Women View Bush as Stronger on National Security | Washington Post 9/22/04
Kerry in a Struggle for Democratic Base: Women | New York Times 9/22/04
Election is Turning into a Duel of the Manly Men | USA Today 9/21/04
Same Old Politics | Washington Post 9/20/04
Reading Kerry's Mind | New York Times 9/20/04
Kerry’s Once Sizeable Lead with Female Voters Slips | Los Angeles Times 9/19/04
Bush Courts Female Vote with Work Rule Changes | Dallas Morning News 9/18/04
Bush Makes Pitch to ‘Security Moms’: President Hopes to Narrow
Gender Gap at Expense of Democratic Issues
| Washington Post 9/17/04
Kerry Losing Women's Support | Chicago Tribune 9/17/04
The Girlie Vote | The Nation 9/9/04
Women of a Certain Age and Power Join Forces to Create
| Newhouse News Service 9/8/04