As we’ve said before, and as both campaigns know: Women will decide this election. But does it matter if they’re single or hitched?
Statistically, married women are more likely to register and to vote than single women. But of the single women who do register and vote, more are likely to vote for progressive candidates. When single women turn out, progressive candidates are more likely to win.
Case in point: In 2008, 11% more married women voted in the presidential election than single women. However, more single women voted for Obama over McCain, by 41 points actually. On the other hand, married women carried McCain by only three points. That’s a “marriage gap” of 44 points.
Keep in mind that the gender gap between Obama and McCain was only 18 points, meaning the voting behavior of single women was far more significant in determining the outcome of the 2008 election than the voting behavior of married women.
Single women are also one of the fastest growing demographics in the country. The CPS reports that in the last 12 years, single women have outpaced married women by 14%. Currently, 19 states have a higher percentage of single women than the total percentage of single women in this country. Four of those states are swing states.
The real story for the 2012 election is the marriage gap, not the gender gap, and it’s what both candidate should be paying closer attention to.