Leading up to Tuesday’s election, all the pundits were predicting this would be the Year of the Woman. And true to form, the female electorate outnumbered men, 53% to 47%. But after the polling places had closed and the ballots had been counted, in race after race it was men who cast the deciding vote.
How could this be true?
The reason is the female vote split right down the middle — 49% going for the Republicans and 48% for the Democrats. In contrast, the male electorate was far more unified, with 56% giving the nod to the GOP candidate and 42% going Democratic, as highlighted by this CNN poll. (The percentages don’t add to 100% because of third party candidates.)
So in Florida, 64% of men pulled the lever for Rubio, while only 44% of women did the same, handing Rubio a convincing 20-point gender gap advantage with men. In New Hampshire, 65% of men supported Kelly Ayotte, compared to 55% of women. In Pennsylvania, Republican Pat Toomey scored a 10-point advantage with the male electorate. And in Wisconsin, insurgent GOP candidate Ron Johnson edged out incumbent Russ Feingold thanks to an 8-point lead with the guy team.
For sure, the female vote appeared to be decisive in some senatorial races, such as in Arkansas, Illinois, and South Carolina. But far more often, a look at the exit poll numbers reveals men were the electoral king-makers, such as in Indiana (Dan Coats), Ohio (Rob Portman), and in countless House races.
Despite the euphoria of the moment, one sobering fact remains: Despite heady pre-election predictions, the Republicans did not take the Senate. There the Democrats still rule the roost with a solid 53-47 majority.
Let’s look at the four races where Republican candidate ran neck-and-neck with the Democratic opponent throughout the campaign, but in the end faltered: Nevada, Colorado, California, and Washington.
In the closely watched Nevada contest, Harry Reid’s web site featured a six-page “Working for Women’s Issues” promo, festooned with 13 “Highlights of Senator Reid’s Women’s Issues Record.” Yes, Harry is a swell guy!
So how did Sharron Angle counter in order to attract the male vote? Well, do a web search on the words “Sharron Angle” and “men’s issues,” and you’ll come up drier than a red-spotted toad marooned on the macadam in a Nevada heat wave.
So in the end, 53% of women went for Harry Reid, and 48% of men voted for Sharon Angle. First Lost Opportunity.
In Colorado, the contest featured weeks of Democratic Party ads hitting Buck for his supposedly less-than-progressive views on women’s rights. “Ken Buck. He’s too extreme for Colorado” became the Democratic sing-along.
And what was Buck’s proactive approach to attracting men? Among campaign strategists, it’s known as the 3-Z strategy: Zip, Zilch, and Zero. As a result, 56% of women voted Democratic and 53% of men went Republican.
Lost Opportunity Number Two.
But the night isn’t over, so now it’s On to California!
Of course, throughout her senatorial career, Barbara Boxer has been at the forefront of every radical feminist issue de jour. These accomplishments were paraded on her “Highlights of Senator Boxer’s Record on Women” website, complete with a flattering YouTube video.
In contrast, Carly Fiorina, who had bootstrapped her way to become CEO of Hewlett-Packard, immediately commanded the respect of male voters who are wary of tax-and-spend Democrats. But what were her views on issues of unique concern to men, like rampant bias in the family court system and woeful funding for prostate cancer research? No one knew for sure.
In the end, her ship was torpedoed by the female vote that swung sharply — 55% — for Boxer, while only 46% of men voted for the GOP luminary.
L.O. Number Three.
But one more chance up in the Pacific Northwest, where the legendary “Mom in Tennis Shoes” was still duking it out with the GOP’s never-say-die candidate, Dino Rossi. But the Washington contest played out almost identically as in California, with the flat-footed Rossi continually on the defensive in the battle for the gender vote.
On a night when the Republican Party scored stunning advances with city councils, state houses, and governor’s mansions across the nation, the GOP’s Achilles’ heel was in the United States Senate, where Harry Reid and his Democratic minions will continue to call the shots for the next two years.
Hopefully next time around the Republicans will stop ignoring the male electorate, the demographic that TV commentator Tucker Carlson has dubbed “America’s single most important voting bloc.”