Women in the 2012 Election

Just over one week ago the American public reelected President Barack Obama to a second term. According to a recent article published in the Huffington Post on voter results, Obama received 59% of the vote from unmarried women as well as 59% of the vote for people ages 18-29. This victory, specifically in the eyes of women, was well-documented and predicted.

Among the hundreds of statistics and polls, it’s difficult to keep track of who leads whom in specific states, regions or demographics during the campaign. However, CNN states that by mid-October data showed that white women supported Obama in place of opponent Mitt Romney 52%-46%. It’s clear that certain issues stood above the rest at the voting booths for young, ambitious and independent women.

Most notably is the umbrella topic of female sexual freedoms: the right to birth control, the abortion debate and governmental support for Planned Parenthood centers around the country. Part of Romney’s federal cutback plan included the threat to remove funding for Planned Parenthood, which helps to provide contraception, breast and ovarian cancer screenings and examinations, guidance and medical assistance for women. This was one issue that I, as well as many female college students, are unwilling to sacrifice, political associations aside.

Secondly, respect for women’s equality in business and politics served as a majorly contested issue. Historically the Republican party has been seen as “The White Man’s Party,” and unfortunately, this nickname produces the misconception that it is closed off and uninterested in female participation.  In addition, Mitt Romney lost many female supporters when he alluded to his “binders full of women” as well as his concern that working women should have time to “go home and cook dinner” during the debates. Whether or not Romney’s statements were intentional or mistaken, his platform presented a tangible and recognizable conflict of interest for women.

A common political standpoint for a majority of college students (including myself) is to identify as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”, which makes the decision to support either the Republican or Democratic party increasingly difficult. In addition, this was my first election in which I was eligible to vote. On the broad political spectrum, I am pro-choice, against war, and in support of equal rights for women in the workplace but I also believe in the superior nature of capitalism, private ownership of business and limited interference from the government in business practices. In this election, there was no perfect candidate to simultaneously mediate my beliefs and win the hearts of the American public. Electing the President, and the political sphere as a whole, presents a clear environment where one is forced support the lesser of two evils.

For more information on women’s influence on the 2012 election, read these articles:

  1. http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/08/politics/women-election/index.html
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-jeffers/some-poignant-personal-ob_b_2137023.html
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/women-in-politics-break-records-2012-election_n_2088954.html
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