Monday, April 21, 2008

Girls' night in PA?

Political experts anticipate that the Democratic women of Pennsylvania will swing tomorrow's long-awaited primary, and conventional wisdom would hold that that would be good news for Hillary Clinton.

But this is no conventional primary (right, Howard Dean?).

In this revealing report from the Philadelphia Inquirer, women talk frankly about why all bets are off in the Keystone State. Two examples: One, a 53-year-old mother with a perfect Republican voting record, will vote for Barack Obama; another, a 19-year-old African American college freshman from West Philadelphia whose five brothers will vote for Barack Obama, will cast her vote for Clinton.

What is driving this uncertainty?

Many women said they found the candidates were more similar than not on issues, leaving their final choices to more subjective assessments of character and leadership ...

Many said that if Clinton were running against a white male, they would feel more compelled to support her as the first woman to run for president. But with Obama as her opponent, they said, their votes will be historic either way they go.
To set the statistical stage, one politico said he expects women to cast 60 percent of tomorrow's votes, up from the usual 56 or 57 percent turnout. But the clearest indication that this race is still up in the air: a staggering 47 percent of women still have not made up their minds.

The degree of vote switching, coupled with the number of undecided voters, is unusually high in this primary and opens up possibilities for both campaigns, said Celinda Lake and Kellyanne Conway, the pollsters who conducted Lifetime Networks' poll of women voters this month.

"This cycle is so different," Conway said. "They're undecided not because they're not paying attention - but because they are paying attention."