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Single Women and the Marriage Gap Key to This Year's Election

October 22, 2012

In these last weeks of the 2012 elections, media attention has turned to how the presidential candidates will win the "women's vote." But that misses the real story. There is a vast difference between married and unmarried women. Conflating them into one voting bloc produces a false reading of the electorate.

The U.S. Census Bureau documents that marital status is one of the major determinants of whether or not an individual registers and votes — and regression analyses point to the power of marital status in determining vote preference.

The marriage gap, not the gender gap, tells the real story of the 2012 election. "Although much has been made about the gender gap... the marriage gap is actually larger and more telling," according to Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Here's why:

Unmarried women — women who are divorced, separated, widowed or never been married — are a huge, rapidly growing part of the electorate and they could make the difference in the Presidential and key Senate races this year.

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Politically, unmarried women are very different than married women.

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