Column: Single women: political powerhouse

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.,, center, mingles with guests last month at a Democratic luncheon for women where she spoke in Charlotte, N.C. Hagan, who is struggling for a second term, has recently shown gains, even in a Republican poll, partly due to a powerful voting bloc of unmarried women who are reshaping the American electorate to the advantage of the Democratic Party.

New York Times

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.,, center, mingles with guests last month at a Democratic luncheon for women where she spoke in Charlotte, N.C. Hagan, who is struggling for a second term, has recently shown gains, even in a Republican poll, partly due to a powerful voting bloc of unmarried women who are reshaping the American electorate to the advantage of the Democratic Party.

The decline of marriage over the past generation has helped create an emerging voting bloc of unmarried women that is profoundly reshaping the U.S. electorate to the advantage, recent elections suggest, of the Democratic Party. What is far from clear is whether Democrats will benefit in the midterm contests this fall.

With their Senate majority at stake in November, Democrats and allied groups are now stepping up an aggressive push to woo single women — young and old, highly educated and working class, never married and divorced or widowed. But the challenge for Democrats is that many single women do not vote, especially in non-presidential election years like this one. While voting declines across all groups in midterm contests for Congress and lower offices, the drop-off is steepest for minorities and unmarried women.

Half of all adult women older than 18 are unmarried — 56 million, up from 45 million in 2000 — and now account for 1 in 4 people of voting age. (Adult Hispanics eligible to vote, a group that gets more attention, number 25 million this year.)

Single women have become Democrats' most reliable supporters, behind African-Americans: In 2012, two-thirds of single women who voted supported President Barack Obama.

Single women, Democrats say, will determine whether they keep Senate seats in states including North Carolina, Alaska, Michigan, Colorado and Iowa — and with them, their Senate majority — and seize governorships in Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, among other states.

Jackie Calmes, New York Times

Column: Single women: political powerhouse 07/03/14 [Last modified: Saturday, July 5, 2014 6:28pm]

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