Women key to US presidential elections: poll

August 6th, 2008 - 3:20 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Barack Obama
Washington, Aug 6 (DPA) Women hold an important key to winning the US presidential elections in November because neither Democrat Barack Obama nor Republican John McCain has yet won a majority of women voters into their corner, according to a poll. Obama has won the support of 49 percent of women, while 38 percent are for McCain, according to the poll released Tuesday, commissioned by a coalition of Lifetime Entertainment Services, a female-oriented TV broadcaster, and hundreds of women’s organisations.

The 700 women in the poll also felt strongly that although Hillary Clinton failed in her bid for the Democratic nomination, she helped pave the way for a woman president in the next four to eight years.

The poll was conducted by the Every Woman Counts Campaign launched in 1992 by Lifetime to get more women voting and running for office.

The 11-percentage-point spread gives Obama the same lead over McCain that Democrat Al Gore had over Republican President George W. Bush in the summer of 2000 before Bush won the election, according to Kellyanne Conway, a pollster from Lake Research Partners.

“If you are either Obama or McCain, you want to get over the 50 percent line with women,” she told reporters.

The poll showed that women who backed Clinton in the bitterly fought primary elections have lost some of the anger over her defeat.

While immediately after the primaries ended in June, an estimated 40 percent of Clinton’s women backers said they would not vote for Obama, that figure has dropped to 18 percent.

Women also said their decision Nov 4 would not likely be influenced by whether either candidate names a woman as the vice presidential candidate.

On the question of why women believed Clinton lost the nomination, 34 percent blamed her and her campaign strategies, 31 percent said she lost because of who she is and what she stands for, and 21 percent said it was because she was a woman.

“Although women credited Hillary with clearing the path for future aspirants, they’re much less certain it will be her or when that will be,” Conway said.

A total of 44 percent of respondents anticipated a female US president by 2016. Twenty-three percent believed it would be as early as the next elections in 2012.

“Many of these women intuit that whoever wins this election will be a one-termer, but it may also be a function of the (feeling that) hope springs eternal,” Conway said.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

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