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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

How Dems Are Reaching Out to Unmarried Women for Midterms

From Zachary Goldfarb’s Washington Post article “Democrats target unmarried female voters“:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is building a national computer model to predict voters’ marital status, with hopes of targeting what may be the party’s most important demographic group: unmarried women.
“The completed model will let us pinpoint unmarried women as the target of specific, poll-tested messages delivered through field, mail and paid communications,” said a Democratic official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal strategy. “The model can also be included in our polling, allowing us to monitor trends in support and enthusiasm over time.”

The key issues Democrats reportedly plan to highlight for unmarried women include minimum wage, pay equity and health care. Dems hope to replicate the success of VA Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who was elected Governor last year with 67 percent of unmarried women voters, vs. 25 percent for his opponent. DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel called the effort our “earliest and most aggressive field and targeting program ever.” Goldfarb adds,

But Democrats have their work cut out for them. Not only do unmarried women tend to vote in far smaller numbers during midterm elections, Democrats are lagging in support from that group of voters compared with 2012.
Recent polling by Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner showed that just under 60 percent of single women likely to vote in 2014 are backing Democrats. Generally, it is a bad sign for Democrats if they are getting less than two-thirds support among this group, said Erica Seifert, a senior associate at the firm.
“The biggest turnout factor for unmarried women is whether they feel the candidates are speaking to the issues that really matter to them,” Seifert said. “That’s the big thing that we’re watching in 2014, if there is a pocketbook-level economic debate that’s going to bring unmarried women out to vote.”

Golfarb notes that TDS founding editor Ruy Teixeira explained that Democrats held only a 57-to-43-percent advantage among unmarried women in 1988. By 2012, however, the Dems edge increased to 67 to 31. “A large and widening gap in favor of the Democrats and a larger share of voters over time makes them pretty significant,” Teixeira said.

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