Were will the woman’s vote go to?
Their hearts and bodies?
Their bank account?
While abortion is a key issue that helped Democrats close what had initially appeared to be a yawning enthusiasm gap with Republicans, many GOP strategists have argued in interviews that Democrats overplayed their hand by focusing too much on abortion rights in their ads when voters were more focused on the economic pain they were feeling from inflation.
Democrats insist that the fact that they have been driving a dual message – about abortion and the economy – often gets overlooked. But Danielle Alvarez, communications director for the Republican National Committee, predicted that the opposing party’s relentless focus on abortion would prove to be a mistake.
“Democrats believe women only vote from the waist down and wake up every day thinking about abortion. The reality is that Democrats miscalculated and are out of touch, because women voters are whole voters who care about the economy, public safety, and education,” she said.
The challenge for Democrats was reflected in a recent CNN poll conducted by SSRS that showed likely voters in competitive districts leaning toward Republicans. The survey showed women expressing less support for Democrats than they have in recent elections. A CNN Poll among registered voters in early October 2018 found that 59% of women backed Democratic nominees in their district; compared with 53% in CNN’s recent September-October poll.
Democrats are also seeing a backslide in enthusiasm compared with the 2018 election. Among registered voters in CNN’s September-October poll: 27% of Democratic women said they were extremely enthusiastic (which is fairly similar to the 31% of Republican women who said the same), and about 11% of independent women voiced that level of enthusiasm.
Those numbers are a clear contrast to CNN’s poll at the beginning of October 2018 when 41% of Democratic women said they were extremely enthusiastic about casting ballots, compared with 35% of Republican women – and 29% of independent women.
The voting bloc known as ‘security moms’ was a term first coined in the 2004 presidential election, when President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were out on the campaign trail accusing Democrats of not being prepared to handle the threat of terrorism.
This time, the mix of issues that are most top of mind for many female voters – inflation and economic uncertainty, as well as the uptick in crime in some cities – are issues that favor Republicans, according to GOP pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson. Abortion is clear exception, but polls have repeatedly shown that it is not the top issue for most voters, despite the millions of dollars of Democratic spending on ads casting GOP candidates as a threat to abortion access….
“Women across the board, I think, are all still trying to make up their minds,” she said. “And I don’t think anybody knows which way it’s going to go.”