Four years ago, on the eve of the 2006 midterms, men were evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats in their voting intentions for the House, while women were Democratic by 22 percentage points. Today, Newport said, 52 percent of men say they plan to vote Republican and 40 percent say they will vote for the Democrat. Women are the opposite: 52 percent Democrat and 40 percent Republican.So the democrats are pinning their hopes on getting unmarried women to the polls. And scare talk about abortion isn't going to cut it this year.
Part of the Democrats' problem this year is that men have turned against them in big numbers. White, blue-collar men are particularly alienated from the party, according to Democratic strategists.Maybe it's time that the Democrats start worrying about why they're losing men. You think their performance on the economy might have something to do with it? Or the general hectoring tone so many liberals take when telling us what we should be thinking and doing?
That puts an extra premium on women. Democrats hoping to hold down losses are pinning their hopes on mobilizing women and say they see evidence that, when sharp contrasts are drawn with the Republican candidate, numbers move in their direction.
But there are obstacles this year. Democrats do better among unmarried women than among married women. But unmarried women have been hit hard by the recession and may be more difficult than usual to motivate. "They're in tough shape, and they're hard to get energized," said Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg.
Democrats remember 1994. In that year, an estimated 16 million women who had voted in 1992 did not show up at the polls. That was one of a number of factors behind the GOP landslide that year.
"Our job is to motivate core Democratic women to get out to vote," said Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily's List.
IF the votes turns out as the polls seem to indicate, the Democrat's gender gap among men will be one for the record books.
Analysts cite a political climate that is apparently ineffably male — though the question of cause or effect is beyond the capability of polling.Remember all those articles spilling advice in the 1980s to tell Republicans what they should be doing to regain the women's vote? There was lots of talk about the terrible gender gap and how it was hurting Republicans. And then the Republicans went on to win all three presidential elections of the decade and we stopped hearing so much about the gender gap. What the chin-pullers were missing was that there was a concomitant gender gap that the Democrats experienced among men. And the analysts finally wised up to realize that the gap among women was not among all women, but among unmarried women who liked the idea of Daddy Democrats taking care of them. Well, that hasn't worked out so well the past couple of years, so they're going to need some really scary talk to bring them out
“In times when the role of government is particularly controversial, you tend to see a particularly large gender gap,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who has long studied gender and voting. She added that this year’s is “among the bigger gender gaps we’ve seen.”
“It’s reminiscent of the gender gap we had when the gender gap first emerged, which was around [the time of] Ronald Reagan,” she said.