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Women voters still surprising men

January 28, 2013 - Mike Donahey
"Women Voters Surprised Men” from the June 30, 1953 edition of the Times-Republican and "Women Are Not a Unified Voting Bloc" in the November, 2012 Atlantic Monthly are two articles worth reading.

They were written 92-years apart, but shed light on expectations.

The T-R read: When women first began voting in 1920, following the passage the 19th amendment to the constitution, they did not quite do as the men expected. Said the Times-Republican in October, 1920, "employment of women as registration clerks which was expected to meet with perfect success is not working out as well as anticipated. One difficulty is that the county chairman have taken it for granted that wives will vote as their husbands do. This, it seems, is a mistake."

The story then told how Marshalltown Mayor J.J. Wilson had named Mrs. J. J. Jarrett as a member of the registration board for the first ward, believing she was a Democrat. Her husband had long been active in that party. Mrs. Jarrett notified the mayor she wouldn't serve, and to his chagrin he discovered her reason, "because I'm a Republican," she said. When the time came 2,683 women registered to vote in Marshalltown, compared to 3,518 men.

Fast forward to 2012 and women are still surprising men. Both parties courted women heavily in November's presidential election. Women candidates and men who spoke on women's issues such as birth control and rape received much coverage. Even more important is what women did in the voting both

"From President Barack Obama's 11-point edge with women over Mitt Romney in exit polls to Republicans losing two senate seats over troubling statements about rape, 2012 seemed to further the idea that gender is the leading definer of Democratic voters: double x marks the spot," reported the November, 2012 Atlantic Monthly.

The well-written article broke down results of women's votes by race, marital status and so on.

"For instance in the 2012 exits Obama did better with white women than with white men — seven percentage points better — but smaller than the 11-point divide in the electorate as a whole. And overall Obama still lost white women. The president captured only 42 percent of the white women's vote. Romney captured 56 percent."

White women were an area of strength of women for Romney, but as the Atlantic reported, the president garnered 96 percent of the black women vote and 76 percent of the Hispanic women's vote. Credit Obama's organization for turning out the black and Hispanic women's vote in record numbers — a factor that caught Republicans in Iowa and nationally off guard.




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