DENVER -- This morning I went to a breakfast hosted by EMILY's List, which funds female Democratic candidates, in large part because I was pretty sure I could get some yogurt and a banana there. Most of my diet at the convention has been fried, caffeinated, or come in a pizza box.
EMILY's List was just putting out the results of a study on women's attitudes toward politics and the 2008 election, which they want you to read. For the data, go here.
I'll tell you the four things that struck me most, though.
One, slightly more than a quarter of Gen X and Gen Y women seek out new about politics. They're interested, but they don't go look for it. Is that because they're busy with school, first jobs, or new families? Or don't have the money to subscribe to cable or newspapers and magazines? Who knows?
But it's related to the second point, which is that SEVENTY-SIX PERCENT of Gen Y women are members of at least one social networking site. Seventy-six! That means young women are not getting their information from cable TV or print publications. They're getting their information from their friends. Ellen Malcolm, the president of EMILY's List, suggested these data indicate a bandwagon effect. Presumably, the one young woman in four who seeks political news can easily influence three other friends who are online but not yet on message.
Thirdly, as a whole, the sample of 1400 women across four demographics (Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers, and Seniors) would suggest that Barack Obama should be ahead in the polls by double digits. The ladies of Gen Y are nuts about him, senior women are a strong second, and Gen X and Boomer women trend his way. So why is this race still essentially a tie?
"Men vote, too," said Malcolm.
True. But as we all know, men can be fickle. With a little work, women--who skew Democrat anyway, and for whom Obama's message of hope and image as sensitive to women's issues resonate--could carry this election for the Democrats, much as the Christian Right came to carry the last two for Republicans.
But here's the fourth--and most striking--thing about the EMILY's List breakfast: hardly anyone was there. A dozen or so women and a couple guys nibbled cantaloupe and grapes, and a sole, sleepy camera man occupied the row of seats reserved for major media.
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