December 16, 2012

GOP single woman: An oxymoron?

The numbers of unmarried American women are burgeoning, and Republicans seem at a loss to woo them.

By NICHOLAS RICCARDI The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Sara Stevenson
click image to enlarge

Sara Stevenson warms up for a yoga class this month in Denver. The 32-year-old is among the growing numbers of unmarried women in America who are not responding favorably to Republican politics.

The Associated Press

Single men are also significantly more likely to back Democrats than Republicans, but that is largely a function of their age, because they are largely younger. Unmarried women, however, are more evenly spread across all age groups and consistently lean Democratic, said Page S. Gardner, president of the Voter Participation Center, which tries to increase voting by single women. They also are much more likely to support abortion rights.

In Colorado, Democrats have assiduously focused on abortion and other health issues to win support from both married and single women. In 2010, Sen. Michael Bennet defied the Republican wave by hammering his tea party challenger on his opposition to abortion rights. This year, Obama campaigned in the state with activist Sandra Fluke, an unmarried law student branded a "slut" by commentator Rush Limbaugh for testifying before Congress in support of requiring that employer-provided health insurance covers contraception.

The Obama campaign attacked Romney on the airwaves over his refusal to support the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, his opposition to federal dollars for Planned Parenthood and his opposition to abortion rights.

Katy Atkinson, a GOP consultant in Denver, said that two elections in a row should be a warning sign for the GOP.

"That whole fighting social issues with economic issues just doesn't work," she said. Atkinson noted that both Romney, as well as Bennet's opponent, Ken Buck, contended that women really cared about pocketbook issues rather than reproductive issues. "While women care about pocketbook issues, they don't want to elect an extremist."

Conway said the GOP can win over unmarried women on economic matters. "What do women, married or unmarried, do every week?" Conway asked. "Do they fill up the gas tank or get an abortion?"

Lauren Koebcke, 32, is a glimmer of hope for Republicans. She is single, favors gay marriage and abortion rights but sides with the GOP on economic issues. The bad news for the GOP is that she's the only one of her single friends who votes Republican.

"Most people I know are Democrats and most Democrats I know are single," said Koebcke, a project manager in Austin, Colo.. "Most Republicans want home and hearth. They want babies and that family life."

Stevenson isn't sure whether she wants a family. "Most of us didn't make any money until we were 26 years old and we want to enjoy ourselves," she said. She logs 11-hour workdays. "I can't imagine coming home and having to cook dinner and deal with someone else's problems," she said. "I'm not there yet."

She also knows that Republicans won't be getting her vote anytime soon.

Republican Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana infuriated her when they tried to explain why they think rape victims shouldn't be allowed to have abortions. Stevenson stayed up late on election night just to confirm that they both lost.

The women's issues that Obama emphasized, such as equal pay for women and contraception coverage, are pocketbook issues to Stevenson. That GOP candidates denigrated them as social issues just shows how out of touch the GOP is, she said. "There are just so many off-putting comments from the Republican party," Stevenson said. "It's crazy to me that they're still acting as if women are a niche market."

 

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