Southern Republican Women May Go Democrat

ByABC News via via logo

Sept. 15, 2006 — -- The voting patterns of Republican Southern women may change this November as they have second thoughts about sticking with the GOP in 2006, poll results suggest.

In a recent ABC News poll, 53 percent of Republican Southern women said they are leaning toward voting for Democrats in upcoming elections, marking a six-point gain. Republican Robin Rasmussen of Memphis, Tenn. is one of those women.

"I voted Republican in every election since I was 18," Rasmussen said.

But Rasmussen won't vote Republican this year and she is not alone.

"If Southern women feel upset that the other issues they care about have not been officially addressed by the Republican leader in Washington, they may take that straight to the ballot box," said Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster.

Tracy Quick Bradford, another Memphis woman who has traditionally voted Republican, proves that view.

"I think health care, education and the economy and I think that the, the candidates that represent the Democratic Party are most in line with my views on those issues," Bradford said.

But she also said it wasn't an easy decision.

"To a certain extent it's, it's difficult," Bradford said.

Rasmussen is changing her vote to address the issues that are most important to her.

"My number one thing is education because I think if you solve the education you fix everything else," she said.

Another woman, Janna Herbison, cited the Iraq War as influencing her vote.

"The war is a big issue with me," Herbison, a Memphis resident, said. "At this point, I hope that we succeed with it because we've invested so much in it, but I think about the troops every day and I think about why we're there."

Bradford is unsure of which party leaders would provide the best national security.

"I don't think that anyone knows," she said. "I don't think anyone has this crystal ball as to who is really going to protect us this way or that way."

Herbison said that partisan politics, particularly in issues surrounding the war in Iraq, have turned her off to most politicians.

"I heard a comment I think from a congressman the other day that said if the Democrats don't agree with the war they are more concerned with the terrorists' safety than with American safety, "Herbison said. "That blew my mind and I thought, you know, it really --how, how could they have a right to say that because we live in America? And if you don't agree with it that's fine, you know, but don't attack someone personally."

"Don't say they're aligning themselves with terrorists because they disagree with you. That's un-American," she continued.

Bradford has a checklist of qualities that make a candidate attractive to her.

"We're looking for a new form of leadership and just some fresh new ideas and more integrity in our government," she said. "I think that's where we -- I hope that's where we're headed."

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events