November 29, 2002


Andrew Kohut, head of the Pew Research Center, found a dramatic shift in women’s views about the creation of a national missile defense system. Just before the attacks, his polling showed that 29 percent of women and 42 percent of men agreed that “we need a national missile defense system right now.” In October, after the attacks, support among men grew only slightly, to 47 percent, while among women the percentage soared to 51 percent, with 59 percent of women with children backing immediate creation of such a system.

Similarly, a post-9/11 survey by the Winston Group, a Republican firm, found that a higher percentage of women than men backed the idea of arming commercial airline pilots (76 percent as compared with 73 percent).

All of these findings point to the increased receptivity of women to the generally more aggressive and tougher stands of Republicans on issues of military preparedness and dealing with foreign adversaries. These shifts may be temporary, a product of the terrorist threat. But while a war with Iraq might come and go, no one knows how long the threat of terrorist attack will continue. There is no reason to believe that this aspect of the political environment will change in the near future.

Meanwhile, Al From and Bruce Reed have some advice for the Party:

[S]top pretending that we can win a majority simply by energizing our base. . . .

Half that battle is simply respecting the values of mainstream America in the first place. We will never be the party that loves guns most, but we can respect law-abiding citizens’ rights to own them. We will never be the pro-life party, but we can show that we want abortion to be rare as well as legal.

I think they’re on the right track.

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