Jim Geraghty provides another look at the flight from Democrats in this election cycle, given in a focus-group analysis of women surveyed for their political points of view. The so-called “Wal-Mart Moms” backed Obama in 2008, but have gone through a period of severe disillusion. They now favor Republicans, but that may not last, either:
1. Walmart Moms chose Barack Obama in 2008, but today they offer the President poor marks. By a margin of 48% to 43% Walmart Moms say they voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but almost two years later a majority of these women (52%) say they disapprove of the job the president is doing, while 40% approve. This is a much harsher assessment of the President than that among all registered voters (47% approve, 49% disapprove).
2. Walmart Moms are split on their self-identified partisan affiliation, but a majority say they would vote for a Republican Member of Congress this fall. Just over one-third (34%) of Walmart Moms self-identify as Republican, 35% as Democrat and 30% as Independents. Yet, when asked their voting intentions in the fall 51% say they plan to vote for a Republican candidate compared to just 35% who choose a Democratic candidate. Twelve percent (12%) are still undecided.
3. Walmart Moms hold net negative views of the Democratic Party and its leaders, and net positive views of the Republican Party. Fewer than three-in-ten (27%) of Walmart Moms have a positive view of the Democratic Party, while 46% have a negative view. They also have a net negative view of the President (39% positive, 48% negative) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (21% positive, 37% negative). However, when it comes to the Republican Party, Walmart Moms have a more favorable view (37% positive, 30% negative). Minority Leader John Boehner is largely unknown to these women – just 29% have heard of him.
We’ve now gone from soccer moms in the Clinton era to security moms in the Bush era after 9/11, and now we have the ironically named “Wal-Mart Moms” in Obama’s term of office. Why ironic? The left wing of the Democratic Party has engaged in non-stop demonization of Wal-Mart for years for their refusal to knuckle under to unions and their enormous success in retail. One would think that actual Wal-Mart moms might be disinclined to vote for Democrats anyway.
Of course, the point is to determine what middle-class women with families think about politics, not where they shop or what sports their kids play on the weekends. Maybe in the future, we can just say middle-class moms and hold off on the cutesy labels.
Getting back to the results, the survey should not surprise anyone in this election cycle. The numbers run fairly close to the general population, especially in party affiliation. The big difference is in the generic ballot question, where these women favor the GOP by 16 points. The latest Rasmussen poll shows the GOP up by 10, and usually women trend more towards Democrats than Republicans. This could be an indication that the likely-voter models used by pollsters could still be underestimating the Republican turnout for November.
But as Jim warns, their votes aren’t necessarily solid this cycle. Only 57% of those saying they will vote for the Republican say their vote is firm, as opposed to 69% of those voting for Democrats. That’s not a great indication of enthusiasm, but continued economic woes are not likely to convince them to switch in the next six weeks, either.
The most interesting result was that of the name recognition of John Boehner, the focus of Democratic attacks over the last couple of weeks. Barack Obama spent a great deal of effort attempting to attack someone whom only 29% of target voters recognize now. I wonder how much of that recognition comes from Obama elevating Boehner into the position of a national spokesman for conservatism, a strategy that the White House now seems to have abandoned a little too late to avoid making Boehner a rallying point for the Right.