Thursday’s New York Times/CBS News poll had a few gems buried in it: first, that previously undecided women are now turning to the GOP, for the first time since polls began tracking the breakdown between male and female voters in 1982. In the previous New York Times poll last month, women preferred Democrats by 7 points. As of yesterday, they prefer Republicans by 4 points--an 11-point swing that suggests that undecided women are moving to the right.
In the same results, we also find that the Democrats’ long-standing 20-point advantage among families with incomes of less than $50,000 has been completely erased, replaced by a small lead for Republicans. These are people that the Times called “less affluent” Americans. Yet if you look at the most recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average median income of all households in the United States is $49,777--below the $50,000 threshold mentioned in the poll--and among “female householders with no husband present” (which I take to mean single moms), the median income was just $32,597 in 2009.
These families turning away from the Democrats are the ones earning the median household income in the United States right now. And many of those families’ breadwinners are women earning even less than that.
These days, nearly two thirds of mothers--whether single or not--are either breadwinners or co-breadwinners, according to last year’s Shriver Report, “A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything.” These mothers are hard-working women, some of whom have started their own businesses and who want to move up the income ladder. These are also women who make the majority of the family’s healthcare decisions and live by a monthly budget.
Among the other findings in the poll: Almost 9 in 10 respondents to the New York Times’s pollsters said they considered government spending to be an important issue, and more than half said they favored smaller government offering fewer services. In addition, “support for one of Mr. Obama’s main economic proposals--raising taxes on income above $250,000 a year--has declined substantially over the course of this year,” the Times reported.
Last year, the Pew Economic Mobility Project asked 2,000 Americans, “Do you think the government does more to help or more to hurt people trying to move up the economic ladder?” More people thought the government would hurt more than it would help, despite all the economic hardship, by a margin of 50 to 39 percent. They want to move up the ladder, and they see an ever-expanding government as their main obstacle.
That’s why women and working families are turning away from the Democratic Party. People believe the government is hurting things, and they don’t want any more hurt. More people believe that government should promote opportunity than redistribute wealth. And more people now believe that the Obama administration’s big government, class warfare approach is wrong. As the “wrong track” numbers keep climbing, it’s as if working families keep trying to tell us that something is wrong, but no one is listening.
In the closing hours before Election Day, more and more Americans are realizing this isn’t a vote about “secret outside donors” or whether someone is a witch: It’s as stark a choice as we’ve ever seen between equality of opportunity and equality of result, between liberty and more government, between fiscal responsibility and continued debt for our children. My guess is that turnout will be very high, because people understand exactly how serious this is. And they want someone in Washington to start listening.