Here’s an article headlined “Can women save the democrats?” (via RealClearPolitics) suggesting that Democrats are attempting a last-ditch effort to pull their a$$es out of the fire in November: targeting their base of women voters. Except, it’s mostly a recitation of bad polling numbers for the Dems–there’s little if any indication that Democrats intend to do anything about it.
Can women save the Democrats?
The gender contours of American politics have been clear for many years. Democrats have long enjoyed a decided advantage among female voters, less so among men. Over the next five weeks, Democrats’ hopes of holding the House and Senate may depend on their success in once again rallying those female voters.
Right now, Democrats are doing far better among women than men, but in many places not by enough. In a number of states, men are supporting Republican candidates by significant margins, while women are backing Democratic candidates but not by as much as in some past years.
. . . . . . . .
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.
CNN released a series of statewide polls last week, showing much the same. In Colorado, Republican challenger Ken Buck led Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet 49 percent to 44 percent among likely voters. Among men, it was Buck 56 percent, Bennet 36 percent. Among women, it was Bennet 52 percent, Buck 41 percent.
So what are Democrats doing to try to energize their base? What outreach efforts are they making? Here’s the only evidence offered in this story that anyone associated with Democratic politics thinks this is a problem:
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.
And how much harder is it this fall than in other elections?
“Because of the general enthusiasm gap that we’ve seen among Democrats already across the board,” she said, “it is a concern of all of ours.”
Wow–one whole pollster, and one leader of an advocacy group for women in politics! That makes for one person–Stan Greenberg–whose job description doesn’t involve caring about women’s political activism every election cycle, and zero elected Democrats or their aides and strategists who apparently care about this impending electoral disaster. It’s difficult to say whether this is just lazy reporting–are there really a lot more Dems who care about the gender gap and mobilizing women voters?–or if it’s an indication that although the polling data seems clear, Democrats really don’t give a $h!t about their base. I’m voting for the latter theory–and not just because this Congress and White House have been eager to use reproductive rights as a bargaining chip (earning them nothing) in health care reform, and haven’t otherwise done anything meaningful for women since passing the Lily Ledbettter Act. I’m guessing that reporter Dan Baltz would have been thrilled to get some actual Democrats involved in actual electoral politics on the record as caring about the gender gap, since that’s the angle he chose to pursue in this story. (And every reporter wants sources who will ratify and expand on his angle, right?)
As Big Tent Democrat says over at TalkLeft: this is why the Democrats are going to get creamed in November. Here’s my prediction, in the form of a question and answer: Q. Can women save the Democrats? A. No one will ask them to, but they’ll get blamed for not saving the Democrats anyway.