Will College Women In Wisconsin Make A Difference In Tonight's Primary?

Over on the New Republic's website, writer Elizabeth Cline argues that women in college are not voting for Hillary because college campuses are ivory towers where gender discrimination barely exists. Barack Obama leads by as much as 17% in polls among college Democrats, while his lead over Clinton among 18-24 year-olds not in college is a mere 3%. "College has become one corner of American life where hardworking females are consistently and fairly rewarded," Cline reasons, "and they are succeeding there, to a much greater degree than their male counterparts. It's possible, maybe even likely, to graduate college with little sense and zero experience of institutionalized gender discrimination — with almost complete freedom from the type of covert, daily setbacks that drive blacks to the polls for Obama and older women to vote for Clinton."

We spoke to Suchita Shah, the vice chair of the College Democrats at the University of Madison, Wisconsin. (Student population: 41,000, 53% of whom are female.) Ms. Shah, 20, is currently sitting out in the cold (it's eight degrees!) trying to get people to register to vote. She is also a Hillary Clinton supporter. "First of all, sexism is very much alive on college campuses. I think it's a more subtle problem than racism; it's easier to be subtly sexist than subtly racist," she told us. "[I and other women] who are Hillary supporters are supporters not just because she's a woman, but because she's the best person for the job: It's her policies, her healthcare coverage, her ideas about the economy. But as for college women and Senator Clinton vs. Senator Obama, most of the women I know who are active in politics are evenly split." (Which, perhaps answers our own question.)

But what about those not in college? According to results from the 2004 Wisconsin democratic primary, just over half of voting Democrats did not have a college degree. Of those without a college degree, 9/10 were white. These are demographics in which Clinton has been beating Obama. The 2004 statistics, which come from the Associated Press also note: "About four in 10 voters in Democratic primaries across the nation this year earn less than $50,000 annually, compared to half in Wisconsin's 2004 contest. Clinton has a slight national advantage over Obama with that group, but a huge 23 point edge among whites in that income category. And while about half that income group is white among Democrats nationally, more than eight in 10 in Wisconsin are, giving her fertile territory for votes."

No Candidate For Young Women [The New Republic]
Wisconsin Will Test Clinton's Support [AP]