The Corner

“Single Women Are the New Swing Voters”

That’s what Hanna Rosin argues. She also says that the HHS-mandate fight is making them swing toward the Democrats, and it’s a big problem. Actually, though, single women taken collectively aren’t a swing vote. They’re a reliable part of the Democratic base. They preferred Kerry to Bush by 25 points, for example. Bizarrely, Rosin treats the more even preferences of married women as an argument for the greater swinginess of single women.

Rosin’s evidence that the mandate fight is hurting Republicans, meanwhile, consists of a downdraft in Romney’s polls among single women between November and February, a period during which there was also good economic news and a bitter primary fight.

And then there’s this.

What Republican candidates are really missing about their base is what Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, who first started tracking single women in the mid-1990s, has called the “symbols and images of politics.” Instead of acknowledging the prevalence of divorce and single-parent homes in some way, the GOP’s candidates continue to project photos and postcards of perfect Republican families, each husband matched to a beaming wife and two children—in short, the Romneys at Christmas. If you’re a single mom in Alabama struggling to work and take care of a kid alone, it can be grating to have to take in three generations of Romney perfection.

I’m pretty sure that single women aren’t going to vote for Obama because Romney’s family seems too wholesome. But maybe I have a higher opinion of single women than Rosin does.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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