Unmarried Women are the Democratic Party's Christian Evangelicals
There's a new poll out that reveals a key Democratic voting bloc for 2008. According to research done by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner on the 2006 elections, the gap between Democrats and Republicans amongst unmarried women is 36 points, a massive difference. At just over a quarter of the eligible voting age population, unmarried women are the single largest Democratic-leaning voting bloc, bigger than African-Americans and Hispanics put together. And they're loyal, too. Over the past several cycles they are second only to African Americans in terms of commitment to the party.
In terms of size, party ID, and loyalty, they resemble a key voting bloc from a different party: Christian evangelicals. According to the poll (see this pdf for full details), "In a generic presidential match-up, unmarried women favor the Democrat by a 70 24 point margin and in named match-up, Hillary Clinton leads Rudy Giuliani 66 percent 30 percent among this cohort." [Ed. note: "Cohort"?] Unmarried women voted for Kerry by a 24 percent margin in 2004, which means the advantage Democrats have in this group is growing.
The key difference is turnout. Evangelicals' ability to get out every last vote is legendary, as is the Republican Party's willingness to pander to them. On the other hand, no one has ever focused a messaging or get-out-the-vote campaign exclusively towards unmarried women. Considering the fact that the percentage of America that is unmarried has risen from 27 percent to 47 percent over the last half century (and that number is only getting bigger) some serious organization, messaging, and hardcore focus on the part of the Dems is worthwhile here. Critical, even.
Oh, and PS — Hillary Clinton has been playing to women strongly in the last few months. Maybe Mark Penn has already done this research.
Update: My MoJo colleague Stephanie Mencimer writes me to take issue: "The democrats have an enormous message aimed at unmarried women. It's their stance on abortion/contraception, which has been completely unwavering. I would wager that this is one reason unmarried women stick to the party, which has of late tried to tone down the abortion rhetoric a little but still is pretty militant on this front. Get out the vote efforts are obviously a little different, but even then, abortion rights groups do a lot to turn out single women voters." Point taken.