Terry Jeffrey

Had only married women been allowed to vote in the 2006 elections, Republicans might still control the House of Representatives.

Fifty percent of married women voting in those elections, the network exit poll revealed, opted for a Republican candidate for the House. Only 48 percent went for a Democratic candidate.

On the other hand, had only unmarried women been allowed to vote, the House today might be almost entirely composed of Democrats. While 53 percent of the overall vote in U.S. House races in 2006 went to Democrats, 66 percent of the unmarried-woman vote went to Democrats.

What does this super-majority of unmarried women want? More government.

Or, put another way: They want the government to tax money away from married couples and give that money to them in the form of government entitlements.

Or, put another way: They want socialism. Or, as the Democratic polling firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner put it in a report published on Oct. 31, "They want and need government to make their lives just a bit easier."

There is an ominous change taking place in American culture that could revolutionize our politics, making it more difficult to sustain our free-market system and our tradition of self-reliance, driving more people into government dependency. This change is the decline in marriage and traditional family life.

Democrats sense an opportunity in this decline. It could boost their political prospects tremendously. "The growing political importance of unmarried women is undergirded by a demographic shift that is fundamentally changing America," Greenberg Quinlan Rosner reported.

"Between 1960 and 2006, the percentile of the voting age population (as opposed to households) that was unmarried increased from 27 to 47 percent," the firm said. "If the current trend continues, the unmarried population will become a majority in the next 15 years. And while the number of married Americans aged 21-54 years is dropping in absolute terms for the first time ever, the number of unmarried couples who cohabitate and the number of women living without a spouse are on the rise."

The polling firm sees a potential 2008 windfall for the Democrats among unmarried women especially. It describes them as "easily the largest segment of the Democratic base."

"In total, there are over 53 million unmarried women of voting age, a number that dwarfs the percentage of seniors, people of color and even union members," the pollsters report. "Unfortunately, in the past their levels of participation and registration have ranked well below that of married women. In all, 20 million unmarried women did not vote in the last election."

Increasing turnout among these unmarried women could help cinch 2008 and other future elections for the Democrats.

To do this, Democrats must offer policy proposals that especially appeal to unmarried women, and the pollsters point to a series of "Democracy Corps" surveys that suggest what these issues might be. In a September poll, for example, respondents were read a list of nine "concerns" and asked to name the two they believed the president and Congress should pay the most attention to. While the war in Iraq topped the list for both all respondents and unmarried women, the other eight concerns revealed a certain trend.

Unmarried women, it turned out, were more likely than respondents in general to want the president and Congress to pay attention to health care, the economy and jobs, and Social Security and Medicare. They were less likely to want the president and Congress to pay attention to terrorism and national security, illegal immigration, energy and gas prices, taxes and spending, and moral values.

Unmarried women, the pollsters said, "reject the Bush supply-side approach to economics" and agree by 58 percent to 32 percent that America does better when "our government helps create conditions so that many can prosper, not just a few," as opposed to when "we have a limited government that keeps taxes low so that businesses and individuals can prosper."

Unmarried women are also ready to support socialized medicine, the pollsters say. "American voters in general may shy away from 'radical' steps such as importing a Canadian-style system," the pollsters reported. "Unmarried women, however, embrace such a powerful step."

What unmarried women seem to want in greater proportion than the overall population is a government that will take care of them. As marriage and family decline in America, the political pressure will mount for government to expand. When government grows, freedom shrinks.

Baby boom liberals may forever deny it, but freedom depends on the bonds of marriage.


Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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