Voter turnout rates of women have exceeded that of men in past elections. According to the Reuters Center for American Women and Politics, every presidential election since 1980 has seen the number of female voters surpass that of males by between four to seven million votes. In every election prior to 1980, men were the ones to cast the majority of votes.
Despite the higher turnout of women voters, election statistics have failed to prove that women’s votes have actually altered the outcome of any election since the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920. This year, however, that might change, according to a recent article by Politico. The article explains,
“For 220 years, picking the president has remained, at least in terms of statistically provable results despite the 19th Amendment, a man’s prerogative.”
This year, experts are expecting a closer election than in 2008, with the majority of men favoring Romney and women supporting Obama. If Obama can gain the overwhelming vote of women it might offset any advantage Romney will have among older white males.
In the 2008 presidential election, President Obama gained a strong lead with women voters over Sen. McCain, with 56% of the vote compared to McCain’s 43%. In April of this year, polls suggested a similar advantage for Obama, with 49% of the female vote to Romney’s 43%.
Nevertheless, a recent CBS/New York Times poll shows that Obama’s lead has subsided. He now trails Romney 46 to 44 percent. According to this poll, Obama lost 5 points among women in just one month. Other recent polls have shown that Obama is still leading Romney with women.
By delivering the commencement speech for Barnard College, a liberal arts college for women, President Obama made his efforts clear, further proving that he is making a significant push for the votes of young female voters. During his speech he stated,
“I’m convinced that your generation has the will and that the women of this generation will lead the way, how far your leadership takes this country – well, that will be up to you.”
Obama’s Barnard speech showed a subtle pull for the female demographic that his reelection campaign is trying hard to mobilize for the upcoming election.
On the other side of the isle, female Republicans like Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison have eagerly endorsed Romney while hoping that other women will do the same. Hutchison has encouraged women that they can rely on Romney to fight for issues that matter most to them. She, like many others, rejects the Republican “war on women” as nothing but Democrat propaganda masking larger issues.
More women currently identify as Democrats than Republicans, and it is likely that they will ultimately vote in favor of Obama this November. Women may turn out to be the demographic to decide the outcome of the 2012 presidential election.