Re-Energizing Unmarried Women Voters by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research

By at November 28, 2011 | 1:29 pm | Print

Re-Energizing Unmarried Women Voters by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research

Focus Group Results among Unmarried Women.

 Unmarried women – who make up more than a quarter of America’s voting-eligible population — today feel disengaged and alienated from politics and that threatens their participation in the next election, according to new focus group research. The perceived failure of the new president to fulfill a key campaign promise — to change Washington — leaves these unmarried women appalled with both parties and politics in general. Few doubt the President’s intentions. However, most doubt his effectiveness and this leads them to the broader conclusion that it maynot matter who they send to Washington. The economy hasn’t gotten better in their view and the government has become increasingly dysfunctional and embarrassingly ineffective. These women stand by the President for the most part, but are in a far different place than they were in 2008. As one woman memorably noted, she will vote for the President, but will not put his bumper sticker back on her car this year.  The good news is that a message speaking directly to their economic concerns and to the plight of the middle class re-opens them to the person and, to some extent, the process. Some begin to believe politics can matter again.

The Voter Participation Center (VPC) partnered with Democracy Corps and Finding Common Ground to produce a series of focus groups exploring common values among people of color, youth, affluent suburban voters and unmarried women. This memorandum isolates one population— unmarried women — and focuses more on their mood and level of political engagement a year before Election Day. These are focus groups and not projectable to the larger population of unmarried women in the country, but the sentiments we heard are broadly consistent with recent survey results and sentiments in other groups in this project.  Many women in our groups remain resilient in the face of difficult economic circumstances.  Through networks of family, friends and, notably for some, government help, they persevere and continue to be hopeful about the direction of their lives. That relative optimism, however, does not extend to their nation or their government in Washington. These voters believe the system has broken down to the point of inoperability, has done little or nothing to help them or people like them and, most notably, that elections will not likely change this reality.

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