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Kellyanne Conway is correct to argue that Republicans' best chance to win women's votes is to approach them as thoughtful, intelligent citizens. But her hope that her party might capture a much greater share of women's votes is probably misplaced. Republicans probably already have as many of those votes as they are likely to get.
That is because President Barack Obama's advantage comes heavily from single women who favor him over Mitt Romney by 60 percent to 31 percent. And single women now are one-quarter of the electorate. Married women favor Mr. Romney 49 percent to 42 percent (figures from Quinnipiac's July 11 poll).
That advantage is likely attributable to the feminization of poverty in the United States. Young single women are now very likely to be single mothers -- a fast track to poverty if ever there was one. And liberals' assault on the family, coupled with their war on employers, has resulted in a real shortage of young men able and willing to support a family. Meanwhile, older single women are likely to be widowed or divorced and trying to get by on what's left of their spouse's (often underfunded) pension. So "single women" may include the lion's share of those who are dependent on government assistance.
Like those slaves who fought on the side of the Confederacy, they know that life on the plantation is bad. But they are scared to death that any reform of the existing system will leave them with no support at all. And they can't risk that.
First Published September 9, 2012 12:00 am