Are Single Women The Most Powerful Voters?

by Simona Terron
We love Rebecca Traister's article ‘The Single American Woman’ In NY Mag’s trendy column The Cut. Raising awareness about an awesome phenomenon that could decide the fate of America’s next President, the piece details how single women in the USA are technically the most powerful voters at the moment.

Traister goes on to share statistics to support this statement. “In 2009, the proportion of American women who were married dropped below 50 percent. In other words, for the first time in American history, single women (including those who were never married, widowed, divorced, or separated) outnumbered married women. Perhaps even more strikingly, the number of adults younger than 34 who had never married was up to 46 percent, rising 12 percentage points in less than a decade. For women under 30, the likelihood of being married has become astonishingly small: Today, only around 20 percent of Americans aged 18–29 are wed, compared to nearly 60 percent in 1960.”

She even goes on to share that Page Gardner, founder of the Voter Participation Centre, speaks of the 2012 presidential election, stating that unmarried women drove turnout in practically every demographic, making up ‘almost 40 percent of the African-American population, close to 30 percent of the Latino population and about a third of all young voters’.

Although it might be tempting to presume that women voters would automatically choose Hillary Clinton, Traister mentions how any affinity single women may feel toward Clinton is being trumped by the aspirationally progressive vision of Bernie Sanders. In New Hampshire, according to exit polls, Sanders beat Clinton by 11 points with women and by 26 points with single women.

She explains that the reason behind this could be simple, “Some of this is attributable to the disheveled charm and righteous anger of the socialist senator, and some to Clinton’s difficulty running an inspiring campaign. But much of it may also have to do with the fact that single women—living their lives outside of the institution around which tax, housing, and social policies were designed—have a set of needs that has yet to be met by government. Ironically, Clinton has been in the weeds on some of these issues—health-care reform, children’s health insurance, early-childhood education—for much of her career. But perhaps because of that, she can seem less optimistic than her opponent: “I don’t think, politically, we could get it now,” said Clinton of paid leave just two years ago, a sign both of how improbable these policy changes have seemed until very recently and of her battle-scarred pragmatism. The question, in this year of the single woman, is whether the first truly plausible female presidential candidate can recognize how much her constituency has changed and capitalize on these changes, or if she will get overtaken by this growing group of independent women voters responding to more optimistic promises.”

But perhaps the most riveting observation Traister makes is how this is not the first time that single women have had such a dramatic impact on the country. She, of course, goes on to illustrate the fact that wherever you find increasing numbers of single women in history, you find change, by citing examples from the 19th century’s Civil War up until the early-to-mid-20th century.

If you want to find out more about this fascinating subject, we highly recommend checking out this award winning journalist’s 2009 book All the Single Ladies - Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, which has been hailed as “A singularly triumphant work of women presented in beautiful formation” by The Los Angeles Times.

Related Articles

Join The Conversation

Comments