What white women want

… apparently, a white woman.

Before John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate, white women favored Barack Obama over John McCain by 8 percentage points. Among all women, in an ABC News poll, Obama enjoyed an 18-percentage-point lead.

Today, the same poll shows white women now favor John McCain by 12-percent. That’s a 20-point swing!

Is Sarah Palin the ultimate modern woman or her polar opposite?, AdWeek asks in an extensive article today.


As a woman tapped to be vice president, Palin has already made history for the GOP; the move measures up to Obama’s candidacy for Democrats. At the same time, by dint of being a woman, she’s an immediate symbol of modernity, which provides a lot of cover for her staunchly conservative views (no abortion even in the case of rape or incest, for example, and no sex education in schools).

A lot of people criticized McCain for the pick, and suggested merely tapping a woman for the pick would not be enough to lure women who were ideologically mated with Obama. So far, they’re wrong.

  • WW

    I’m a white woman and I definitely won’t be voting for McCain/Palin. While I was originally going to vote for Clinton, I will now be voting for Obama. We don’t need more republican rule in the White House. I don’t understand why people want someone who is “just like them” in charge of our country. I want someone who knows what they’re doing (what does a vp do?). If McCain should die, I really don’t want Palin to be president. Her “executive experience” doesn’t leave me too impressed. She runs rough-shod over anyone in her path. Diplomacy and tact are two traits a good politician should have.

  • http://www.minnpost.com/davidbrauer/2008/03/14/1171/dolan_media_buys_politics_in_minnesota David Brauer

    Two bit of context:

    1. We’re into McCain’s post-convention bounce – the poll was taken the first, second and third day post convention, max McCain bounce time – so that has to be taken into account. History shows convention bounces dissipate fully within a month.

    2. The wild swing may be completely, utterly valid, but pollsters will tell you that margins of sampling error get much larger for subgroups than for a main poll.

    The poll lists a 3-point margin of sampling error overall, but not for subgroups such as white women.

    Again, not denying the swing, or the news, just adding some caveats.

  • Katie

    I hope this poll is a temporary high and as women learn more about Palin they’ll go back to supporting Obama. As a woman, I am excited to see more women in politics. But I would never vote for a woman just because she is woman, just as I would hope men wouldn’t vote against a female candidate because of her gender.

  • Lily

    She won’t be getting my vote!!

  • http://www.trailblz.com Brian Hanf

    One thing that commenters here and on other blogs need to remember, most people who vote, the so called average voter in my industry, will not even do any basic reseach about who they will vote for before the election.

    I contend that most people who read this are way above average voters.

    Somewhere in my life long learning of the business of politics a number comes to mind 86% of the population vote on 3 things. (listed in priority) 1. Name ID, 2. Party, And 3. the assumed religion, nationality, race, or sense of familiarity with the name of the Candidate by virtue of previous experiences.

    The above average voter is a person who knows at least one or more things about the Candidate over and above the preceding characteristics.

    In other words 86% know almost nothing about the candidates.

    So with that I contend that the Palin’s numbers will stay high, they will drop but, at this point because most people have now had there ‘assumed’ familiarity set ie first impression. This is such a short season now, less than 60 days left, and Palin was such an unknown before.

    Also I think in the McCain campaign they are unbelievably happy because instead of matching up the top of the ticket everyone is comparing the McCain ‘vp’ choice to Obama. When that happens it is so wonderful for them, totally keeps the experience issue in play to McCain’s advantage.

    Reasoning – Who is Obama’s vp choice again, some old senator dude?

  • Jim

    I fear for the truth in what Brian says – and it’s a scary thought for America. Ignorance is promoted as a virtue by our leaders.

  • Amanda

    I am incredibly disheartened by the reality pointed out in these comments, and in the poll itself. I am a White woman, and there is nothing that could make me vote Republican at this point in our nation’s history, or make me vote for Palin– ever. I am one of those (apparently) rare voters who actually looks at policy when making my voting decisions. That should be what all of this is about, but I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here. I wonder how bad things have to get for people to start taking a real interest in voting based on issues.

    As so many have said here in the last couple days, it’s not about who seems most like the average voter, because the president must be well above average. It’s also not about the politicians’ personal lives, as much as people like to dwell on that. I would love to see our country regain some of the benefits we enjoyed under Bill Clinton’s presidency, and continue to absolutely not care about his (or any other politician’s or politician’s child’s) sexuality morality. We need to get over that already.

    I appreciate the information posted here about Sarah Palin’s record and political stances, and hope that this kind of relevant discussion overtakes the kind of pettiness that seems to dominate both positive and negative appraisals of her and other politicians.

  • http://www.trailblz.com brian hanf

    amanda and others,

    remember I am talking about all elections. Like todays for, in my case, 3 Judicial positions. Today is the first time I even thought about it and I don’t have the time to check. I emailed a friend who is a Lawyer (a Super Lawyer even) to ask him who I should vote for.

    So Perhaps in the next fifty some days I will look at the winners and decide, but most likly another email will go to my Lawyer friend.

  • Bob Moffitt

    I’m not sure what women leaning toward McCain/Palin want, but I’m pretty sure what they will get if McCain is elected.

  • Alison

    While many women will say “I would never vote for her just because she is a woman”, you need to remember that this election is not going to be won in a landslide. In other words, you don’t need a lot of women voting Republican because Palin is woman, you only need some women in key places to switch their votes.

    And sadly, as has been the case in recent elections, this will be decided by voters who know very little of substance about their choice. I agree with Jim – “Ignorance is promoted as a virtue by our leaders.”

  • bsimon

    Brian Hanf writes

    “I am talking about all elections. Like todays for, in my case, 3 Judicial positions. Today is the first time I even thought about it and I don’t have the time to check. I emailed a friend who is a Lawyer (a Super Lawyer even) to ask him who I should vote for.”

    Yup. I pay very close attention to politics, but didn’t think about today’s primary until yesterday – thanks to David Brauer’s link to a Strib editorial. I voted in the senate primary, but don’t know jack about the school board or judges – so those sections remained blank.

  • Appleby

    I am voting for McCain and Palin because I am sick and tired of the Sixties, and of the Liberal Hippies and their offspring who have been trying to rub out Mom and Dad since the kids were 14 and raging that Mommy wouldn’t let them dance nekkid in the mud at Woodstock or wear hot pants to church.

    The primary reason all you college age brats are so anti-Sarah Palin is that she reminds you too much of your mother, and you are at the age when you think everything your parents do, say, believe in or know is a lie or “hipocritical” to use the kiddie substitute for same.

    Obama is saying the same tripe now that I heard in 1968 from the Junior Class President (who by the way stepped in front of a train one day when he realized everything in the hippie manifesto had already been tried and failed). I fail to see why I should bother with someone equally ignorant who hasn’t learned anything in forty years.

  • WW

    In response to Appleby:

    She doesn’t remind me at all of my mother. My mother is not only a much better person than Sarah Palin, she is also a better mother. I greatly respect my parents and don’t believe that they are hypocrites. They taught me right from wrong, when and how to say no (to many different things), and how to think for myself. Perhaps your parents weren’t so thorough. I may be a “college age brat” as you so crudely put it, but I know that another four years under a Republican president will not help our economy, our environment, or the cohesiveness (or lack thereof) of our country.

  • Bobby

    You’re playing with us right Appleby?!? If not, FOX news called and wants its demographic back.

    What does her having to be like mothers have anything to do with anything? Does anyone compare McCain to our fathers? Or Great-great grandfathers as the case is…

  • Heather

    Appleby, I’m just going to try to flag down your bitter-bus here. I graduated from college 15 years ago, and I’m going to vote for Obama. Palin does not remind me of my mother (who was born DURING, not AFTER, WWII). My mother is a nice person, for one thing, and she doesn’t tell lies.

    Please remember that we’re actually voting for President, not for VP. Given the choice between the two presidential candidates, I want the one who made his OWN money, wrote his OWN autobiography (Palin derided this in her speech, but McCain has two, both cowritten with Mark Salter), was at the top of his college class (instead of the bottom like the other guy), had student loans to pay off, has seen the inside of a single-parent household, and who might know more than a thing or two about the nuances of race and class. I also happen to like the one who seems to be happily married to a woman he respects — besides McCain’s saying that women just need “more education and training” to get equal pay for equal work, which makes my face burn, I also can’t forget that he called his wife the c-word in front of reporters for teasing him about his bald spot. It was YEARS ago, but holy moly.

    Anyway, you might want to get out more. The sixties actually ARE over.

  • http://www.shotinthedark.info Mitch Berg

    This thread – and the comments thereunto appertaining – are a goldmine of material for my latest big metathread, “Mac and Sarah are geniuses because the draw out all the ignorance, contempt and hatred the social/cultural left feels for the rest of the country”.

    At the very least, we’re seeing an epidemic of Pauline Kael Syndrome in the places that are Obama’s strongpoints – state capitols and university towns (also public radio’s strongholds, to be perfectly fair). Outside that particular social hothouse…

    …well, let’s just say I’m looking forward to this next few months.

  • Jim

    Heather,

    Maybe you should read some books that are not part of the syllabus in you womyn’s studies class. The “wage gap” is a myth when you take into account the type of job, hours, flexibilty, stress and danger levels. So says Warren Farrell, co-founder of NOW.

    There are plenty of laws prohibiting discrimination against women (though apparently not against men, as evidenced by affirmative action).

    What the Dems now propose is yet more discriminaion against men by mandating equal pay for unequal work (like the U.S. Open). Pretty dishonest to cloak this with the equality mantra.

  • Heather

    Sorry to disappoint, Jim, but I’m not a proponent of alternative spellings (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I also never said anything about the “wage gap.” The McCain remark that irritates me so was in reference to his opinion on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Basic info on her Supreme Court case is available on Wikipedia, and you can find more info with the usual searches if you’re so inclined.

    Bottom line, she learned late in her career that she was being paid about half the wages of men in her identical position (a management job; no danger pay necessary). If she needed more education and training, she wouldn’t have been in her job.

    For those of us not lucky enough to be born with a lucrative job just waiting for us to grow up, pay equity matters.

  • http://www.shotinthedark.info Mitch Berg

    Not sure if there’s a statistically-significant demographic in this country “born with lucrative jobs” waiting for them to grow up. Info, please?

    Speaking of statistics – while there are no doubt individual cases of income discrimination against women (and womyn, and even wimmins), the fact remains that men and women in the same job with the same education, training, experience and time taken off (for things like families and so on) earn about the same, in most industries, today.

    Women tend to take more time off to have and raise kids; women also tend to gravitate toward lower-paying fields – more social workers than engineers, for example. However, since women now outnumber men in higher education by almost 3:2 (a symptom of discrimination against boys in primary and secondary ed, by the way, about which I hear very little ire), that’ll likely change in the near future.

  • Jim!!

    There are two “Jim”s here – I’m the less verbose Jim, from now on “Jim!!”

  • Heather

    Oh, Mitch! I was just thinking of Cindy McCain. And my cousin. However, MR. McCain’s position on the Fair Pay Act suggests that he does not think folks should be able to sue EVEN IN THOSE RARE CASES where there is clear discrimination.

    And Jim!!? It suits you.

  • bsimon

    Mitch Berg writes

    “This thread – and the comments thereunto appertaining – are a goldmine of material for my latest big metathread, “Mac and Sarah are geniuses because the draw out all the ignorance, contempt and hatred the social/cultural left feels for the rest of the country”. ”

    Mitch, care to cite specific examples? I don’t see a lot of ignorance or contempt expressed here.

  • Bob Moffitt

    “I don’t see a lot of ignorance or contempt expressed here. ”

    Try the “Anti-Stib blog.” You’ll find plenty of both.

  • Elizabeth T.

    I am white, 42, so totally *not* 60s, I graduated from college in 1987, studied chemistry, have 2 children, have been a stay-at-home mom, have been a working-mom, and am now a full-time graduate student-mom.

    I will not be voting for McCaine/Palin. Anyone who argues that there is a huge difference between the two big parties is not thoroughly educated. Republicans do *not* lock-step claim abortion and taxes are right, neither do Democrats.

    Sure, good pick for McCaine, since no one is talking about policies, they’re all focused on tripe about Palin, all of which is sexist bunk (like I care if she’s a moose-killin’ lipstic-wearin’ woman?)

    BTW – the “wage gap” is not uniformly existent, if one looks at higher wage groups; it tends to hit more lower income anyway. “men’s rights” is *not* an oxymoron – they get the dirty end of the stick with some (not all) things. Can you say “alimony” “child support” “equal opportunity (no men) employment”? Those of us women – white or not – who claim to want equal pay need to be open to the fact that men deserve equal pay too.

  • Heather

    Right on, Elizabeth!

    After all, if the pay is equal, that means for everybody.

  • George

    “What the Dems now propose is yet more discriminaion against men by mandating equal pay for unequal work (like the U.S. Open). Pretty dishonest to cloak this with the equality mantra.”

    Jim:

    Dont insult our intelligence. Let us talk about all the men who ran this country to the ground: the CEOs of the banking and finance industry, airline industry and construction industry and of course most of the men in the Bush Administration. Men get more pay for no work, or should I say incompetent white men get millions for messing up!

  • George

    “Women tend to take more time off to have and raise kids; women also tend to gravitate toward lower-paying fields – more social workers than engineers, for example. However, since women now outnumber men in higher education by almost 3:2 (a symptom of discrimination against boys in primary and secondary ed, by the way, about which I hear very little ire), that’ll likely change in the near future.”

    If the men who are CEOS performed better than the morons we now have in the banking and finance as well as airline industry, I would be more than happy to have men in charge of everything particularly the white men. But, the fact is, men, particularly white men, have shown that they cannot run anything worth a damn. The proof is in the pudding. If I were a multinational CEO I would not be employing any American men in most engineering fields especially after some of the high profile disasters in NO and Minnesota and if the government insists that I hire Americans, I will move the operations abroad. Incompetent American men, particularly white American men who cannot count without a calculator.