Female Factor In US Presidential Elections – OpEd


By Andrei Ptashnikov

With the time ticking for the US presidential elections, experts continue to analyze factors that they say can affect the results of the voting. One of the main such factors are mood and preferences of American women. The Voice of Russia’s Andrei Ptashnikov has more.

Is it possible to lose trust of tens of thousands of voters by saying just one odd phrase? Republican challenger Mitt Romney already knows how to answer this question. During a recent presidential debate between Romney and Obama, Romney specifically stressed the lengths he went to as governor of Massachusetts to include women in his cabinet. “I went to a number of women’s groups and said, “Can you help us find folks?,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women,” he said.

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

Of course, Romney meant well by saying so. He wanted to show his attitude toward women and how he appreciates their business acumen. However, female voters reacted angrily to his statement, which they described as an insult. Some of them said that the problem of income quality for women should be resolved by obtaining more ballots cast by female voters rather than by bringing “binders full of women.”

Even though these accusations against Romney are clearly trumped-up many American women have been irked with Romney’s remarks. The incident occurred during a decisive final stage of the US election campaign that will be followed by the November 6 presidential elections, where women will play a very important role. As a rule, female voters are more active during the US elections, something that sometimes play a decisive role in the voting. Suffice it to mention the 2008 elections, when female voters added significantly to Barack Obama’s victory. At the time, his advantage among women was 13 percentage points more than his rival John McCain’s. In contrast, Obama’s advantage among men was just more than one percentage point than McCain’s.

The situation has changed drastically in the past few years. 22 million women were living in poverty in the United States in 2008, while in 2014 about 26 million women are trying to make both ends meet in the United States. So one can only guess what their choice will be in the November 6 elections.

Voters’ attitude toward wives of both presidential candidates is also a major factor. Michelle Obama’s popularity ratings currently stand at 66 percent, which is a 23-percent increase compared to 2008. Ann Romney’s approval ratings are much lower and in this regard, she is very unlikely to help her husband. Probably, that is all for the better, our commentator says, referring to 1994, when Romney ran for the Senate. Back then, Ann Romney repeatedly told journalists about her family’s posh way of life only to finally see her husband lose the elections.


VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

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