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Margie Omero

Margie Omero

Posted: August 22, 2008 09:05 AM
Read More: Pollster , Politics News

EMILY's List released their Women's Monitor survey this week comparing women across four different age cohorts: Gen Y, Gen X, Baby Boomers, and seniors.  While their findings on the Presidential race are interesting and worth reading, I'd like to focus more on attitudes toward the role of women.  (Disclosure: EMILY's List is a Momentum Analysis client, but we had nothing to do with this survey.)

 

Overall, women across age groupings agree on many topics.  But the survey finds younger, Gen X or Gen Y women consistently more optimistic than their older counterparts, especially when it comes to changing women's roles.  Boomers and senior women are more likely to strongly agree that "sexism is still a serious problem for women in our society today" and "there is still a need for a woman's movement that has a strong political voice in America."  They are also more likely to strongly disagree with:  "women today have equal opportunities and equal treatment in the workplace."

 

While hardly anyone uses words such as "satisfied" or "proud" to describe how the country is headed, younger voters are the least pessimistic about the future.  And while majorities across age groups disagree with the statement "this is a good time in America's history to be a young person just starting out in life," youngest women disagree with it least often.

 

However, despite being generally more optimistic, younger women are at the same time the most uncertain about the future.  They are not as likely as Boomer women to agree that "because they have so many more options and choices available to them, young women today are better off than their mothers' generation."  And when asked to identify what word describes the direction of the country, they are more than twice as likely as older women to say "uncertain," and are far less likely to say "dissatisfied."

 

Uncertainty could have many causes.  First, the study shows younger women less engaged in politics, and less likely to follow the news.  Second, the survey also suggests younger women are more concerned than older women about issues affecting them personally, such as pocketbook issues, rising gas prices, issues affecting children, and college affordability.  Third, age itself could be a factor, where women with more life experience are less likely to be unsure of the future.

 

Given younger women's optimism, with uncertainty, it is not surprising that they prefer a candidate who is also optimistic, but provides clarity.  Younger women are more interested in a presidential candidate who can provide "hope and optimism," while older women are more likely to crave "safety and security" or both equally. Younger women are also more likely to prefer a candidate with a "vision for the future," and older women are disproportionately more likely to seek a candidate who can "get things done."

 

Below are some of the responses across age groupings.  I calculated net agree/disagree, and a 4-point mean score, where 4 means "strongly agree," and not sure is omitted.  Other results, methodology, and some question wording are available here and here.

 

 

strng agree

smwt agree

smwt disgr

strng disgr

mean

net agree

net disgr

B/C so many options & choices, yng wmn better off than mothers' generation

Gen Y

42

42

10

4

3.24

84

14

Gen X

46

34

11

5

3.26

80

16

Boomers

51

30

13

3

3.33

81

16

Seniors

45

30

9

10

3.17

75

19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All other things equal, better of more women elected to important offices

Gen Y

48

35

11

3

3.32

83

14

Gen X

42

36

11

5

3.22

78

16

Boomers

48

29

11

4

3.32

77

15

Seniors

46

29

10

7

3.24

75

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexism is still a serious problem for women

Gen Y

36

41

19

3

3.11

77

22

Gen X

34

41

15

6

3.07

75

21

Boomers

46

33

12

5

3.25

79

17

Seniors

 

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