Women. Can't live with 'em, can't judge 'em like they're a voting monolith. At least, that's what pollsters are finding. In fact, it looks like the much-ballyhooed, evasive, and coveted "women's vote" isn't really a persuadable demographic after all; if politicians want to change minds, they should work to appeal to a much more malleable, much more homogenous demographic of voters: men.
Regardless of the fact that 53% of voters are women and 52% of the American population is female, women are still treated like a small special interest group that cares about the same issues and can be swayed by similar solutions. But, as we've discussed here, that's simply not the case. And Julia Clark of Ipsos polling agrees. She analyzed gallons and gallons of data (data comes in giant wooden barrels, right? For the sake of this visual, it does) and found that while women have been busy having the shit pandered out of them by politicians, they're more set in their ways and less likely to change their minds than male voters. She writes,
Men, we have discovered, care about the same political issues as women but are more volatile in their party allegiances. There are fewer men AND they are less likely to vote [...] We hold the majority — and yet we also get the 'special treatment' accorded to a minority subgroup while men languish in un-wooed and presumed 'majority' status.
Clark makes a pretty good case for politicians to quit pretending that white male voters are the default and everyone else is a "special interest group." Male voters are more homogenous — older, whiter, and more educated — than the male population overall. They tend to self-identify as conservative, but they also tend to pay attention to coverage of political news than women, which means that they'd probably pay closer attention to attack ads voiced by concerned-sounding citizens who just want to know why the President/Mitt Romney hates America so much. But despite their relative homogeneity , male voters are twice as volatile as female voters and much more likely to skip voting on election day. That means that The Man Vote has potential to shape elections, potential that's been mostly ignored in the name of pursuing women who are already mostly liberal and fairly steadfast in their voting.
So, what is it that The Man Vote cares about? Uh, pretty much the same thing as women. They're concerned about jobs and the economy and about the deficit. In fact, when asked what issue was most important, men and women chose almost identical issues. We're not so different, you and I. You and us. Them and us.
This year, we've seen an explosion of attempts to convince women to vote one way or the other, but what political parties should really be doing is going after the menfolk. Forget house parties where every lady voter brings a dish to pass and an issue to dish; elections in the future may instead be shaped by political party-sponsored man parties involving copious ball-scratching and appropriately masculine fonts. But a word to the wise: keep Cheney away from gun ranges.