Continuing a pattern established in the 2000 elections, married women supported the conservative, pro-life candidate for President (Senator McCain) while unmarried women supported the liberal, pro-abortion candidate (Senator Obama). According to Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research’s (GQR) analysis of the Edison/Mitofsky National Election Pool numbers, there was a 44-point difference in the voting patterns of married women and unmarried women. GQR concludes that the overwhelming support of unmarried women made Barack Obama the president-elect rather than John McCain.
Unmarried women supported Barack Obama by a 70-to-29 percent margin, and they voted for Democratic House candidates by a similar margin — 64-to-29 percent. These margins mean that unmarried women edged out both younger voters and Hispanic voters as the demographic with the strongest support for President-elect Obama. These unmarried women voters joined with younger voters and people of color to create what GQR calls a “new American electorate” — voters with a decided preference for liberal candidates.
Overall, women strongly supported Senator Obama over Senator McCain (56 percent for Obama, 43 percent for McCain). Men split their votes about evenly between the two presidential candidates, with 49 percent for Obama and 48 percent for McCain.
Gender played a bigger role in the 2008 presidential campaign than ever before with Senator Hillary Clinton almost beating Senator Barack Obama as the presidential nominee for the Democrats and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential candidate. Throughout the election cycle, candidates sought the so-called “women’s vote.” Pundits grimaced when Hillary famously lost her iron control in the New Hampshire primary and almost shed tears talking about the rigors of campaigning.
Newsweek ran a cover story promising to reveal “What Women Want,” and dozens of polls tallied up people’s attitudes toward female candidates. With over 18 million supporters, Senator Clinton ran the most competitive runner-up campaign in history and broke down numerous barriers with her professional demeanor on the campaign trail. She famously said that she was responsible for 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling.