Republicans and deficit hawks are out of touch with unmarried women voters, and that is particularly true when it comes to the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester that are due to go into effect Friday.
A study released today by Democracy Corps, Women’s Voice, Women Vote Action Fund and the Roosevelt Institute found that unmarried women are strongly opposed to the social services cuts that would be imposed by the sequester. These voters in particular “struggle to comprehend how Washington could allow a series of cuts to take effect when the economy is fragile and they are struggling to make ends meet. To them, Washington’s dysfunction comes at a steep price,” the study said.
This focus group study found that unmarried women reacted strongly against the cuts when they were discussed in President Obama’s recent State of the Union address. When Obama said, “Now, some in this Congress have proposed preventing only the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training; Medicare and Social Security benefits,” approval among unmarried women fell to just above 30 percent. However, when the president declared, “That idea is even worse,” approval rating among unmarried women shot up to around 65 percent.
It is not out of ideology that unmarried women are opposed to the conservative cuts- not-growth agenda, but because they would be one of the groups most harmed by the sequester. Page Gardner, founder and president of the Voter Participation Center, explain that unmarried women make up two-thirds of all unemployed women, as well as two-thirds of women who are uninsured. Unmarried women also account for 80 percent of women in poverty. This should leave no one wondering why unmarried women are opposed to cuts that will disproportionately affect the unemployed and uninsured.
With unmarried women making up 23 percent of voters, this means Republicans are ignoring the policy needs of a very large proportion of American voters. Making groups such as unmarried women bear the brunt of the sequester cuts shows that Republican deficit hawks are sadly out of touch with what the American people want and need.
The Democracy Corps study also found that unmarried women reacted positively to progressive policies like pay equity and affordable higher education. Stan Greenberg, from Democracy Corps, said that their study found unmarried women had a very strong response to policies that are intended to spur economic growth. Greenberg said that unmarried women showed very strong approval for broad-based investment and infrastructure.
Unmarried women showed the strongest support for the Paycheck Fairness Act, at 93 percent, and for raising the minimum wage, with support around 85 percent. This shows that unmarried women, an important part of the voting population, support progressive policies that work for economic justice rather than policies that would force them and other middle-class voters to make further sacrifices.