Ruth Marcus watches focus groups of “Wal-Mart Moms” in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Colorado and comes away with the conclusion that “they were surprisingly understanding about the president’s plight.”
While that’s not incorrect, I’m not sure it’s really the headline coming out of this. From an analytical memo by Neil Newhouse and Alex Bratty of Public Opinion Strategies and Margie Omero of Momentum Analysis:
1. Walmart Moms chose Barack Obama in 2008, but today they offer the President poor marks. By a margin of 48% to 43% Walmart Moms say they voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but almost two years later a majority of these women (52%) say they disapprove of the job the president is doing, while 40% approve. This is a much harsher assessment of the President than that among all registered voters (47% approve, 49% disapprove).
2. Walmart Moms are split on their self-identified partisan affiliation, but a majority say they would vote for a Republican Member of Congress this fall. Just over one-third (34%) of Walmart Moms self-identify as Republican, 35% as Democrat and 30% as Independents. Yet, when asked their voting intentions in the fall 51% say they plan to vote for a Republican candidate compared to just 35% who choose a Democratic candidate. Twelve percent (12%) are still undecided.
3. Walmart Moms hold net negative views of the Democratic Party and its leaders, and net positive views of the Republican Party. Fewer than three-in-ten (27%) of Walmart Moms have a positive view of the Democratic Party, while 46% have a negative view. They also have a net negative view of the President (39% positive, 48% negative) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (21% positive, 37% negative). However, when it comes to the Republican Party, Walmart Moms have a more favorable view (37% positive, 30% negative). Minority Leader John Boehner is largely unknown to these women — just 29% have heard of him.
Having said all that, the deal is not sealed, and Republicans shouldn’t presume they have this demographic locked up:
Walmart Moms who say they plan to vote Republican this fall are less committed to their candidate than those voting Democratic. Democrats may still have time to make their case to Walmart Moms before November 2nd. While a majority of the Walmart Moms who are planning to vote Republican say they are committed to their candidate (57%), a significant 43% say they could still change their mind before the election. This is in contrast to those planning to vote Democrat in the fall, where 69% say they are committed to their candidate and just 31% say they could still change their mind.