Women’s Voting Expert Sees Last-Minute ‘Dramatic Shift’ Toward Democrats

Oct 22, 2010 2:27pm

ABC’s Michael Falcone reports:

Women are beginning to “make up their minds” about the candidates they will cast their ballots for on Election Day, and that may be a good thing for Democrats, an expert on women’s voting trends said on Friday.

Page Gardner, founder of the group, “Women's Voices. Women Vote,” told ABC’s Rick Klein and Amy Walter on today’s edition of “Top Line” that recent tracking polls indicate unmarried women “now are performing at about the same levels that they were in 2008, in terms of coming back to progressive Democrats.”

Gardner’s nonpartisan organization is dedicated to engaging unmarried women in the political process.

She said that this demographic group, in particular, has felt the pain of the country’s economic downturn, which has led to diminished support for Democratic candidates. But Gardner said she is seeing a “dramatic shift in the past few days” among unmarried women voters.

Gardner acknowledged that the Democrats’ lackluster messaging during the course of the midterm cycle has hurt the party’s candidates, but women “are looking now at what’s being done, and what has been done.”

Like so many Americans, the top issue on their minds, Gardner said, is the economy. Reproductive rights also ranks high on the list despite the fact that the many prominent women Tea Party candidates on ballots across the country this year do not support abortion.

“I think they’re tapping into the frustration and the anger,” Gardner said. “And I think these people’s lives are very stretched, and they’re tired of it. And they’re tired of being unemployed, and they’re tired of having two jobs, or three jobs to support their kids. “

It could still be a tough year for Democrats among women overall. A Pew Research Center survey out this week found that 49 percent of likely women voters planned to support Republican candidates compared to 43 percent who said they would support Democrats.

Another trend Gardner is watching is the likelihood that after Nov. 2 there will be more GOP women and fewer Democratic women in the next Congress.

“I think the policies will change,” Gardner predicted. “I think you’ll see Congress having a hard time re-passing paycheck fairness, and things that would really help women.”

Watch Gardner's "Top Line" interview:

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