Monday, November 01, 2004

Women hold the key ..........................

Today was reading about the power that women play in US politics. Deviating a little bit, I was really surprised when I read the opinion page of Hindu a few days ago. I was downright surprised with Hindu making a desperate pitch for Kerry. Agreed that we Indians will generally favor a democratic government in US of A. but one of the only newspaper (according to me), that was still unbiased till now was clearly taking sides. It was an interesting article, quite thought provoking. So let us analyze the role of the American women voters on the outcome of the presidential elections. Let’s take America’s population to be around 125 million. Say a 60% voter turnout out of the registered voters. Despite this, many analysts believe that on the judgment day, women voters will outnumber their men counterparts by a whopping 8 million. Boy, that’s a great number no doubt. So frankly speaking it’s the women voters who will by and large dictate the outcome of the presidential elections. In India I doubt women voting in excess of men (I am only taking into account the genuine votes, not the rigged ones a.k.a. official figures). So I guess women in U.S. have a better bargaining power.

So let us see the factors that women will have on their mind as the queue on Tuesday. Both Kerry and Bush have a strong point in their favour. Bush obviously scores as a more aggressive, kind of masculine leader (well perceptions are wrong my dear friend). So he (apparently) appears to be a better choice to these women. These “security moms” believe that Bush will provide a better security and deal with any crisis with an iron hand. Believe me the Belsan tragedy has only increased this notion amongst these women. Actually speaking women traditionally supported the democrats. Particularly during the Clinton administration women voted heavily for the democrats. Actually both the candidates lack the charisma to influence that was the hallmark of Clinton. So it’s a game wide open. Also Bush’s wife Laura is giving him a good support as are his daughters. Contrary to this Kerry’s wife and his two daughters are not matching up to the standards set by the first lady.

So much so for Bush, but Kerry too has some points up his sleeve. One of the foremost is the issue of abortion. Bush cannot let go off the 5 million evangical Christian vote pie. So his stand is against abortion, whereas Kerry has stood for it. So Kerry stands to gain from this stand. Many women organizations also have thrown their weight behind Kerry for the same reason. Against this backdrop, another crucial factor is the percentage of single women among the eligible women voters. This figure currently stands at 20% and will mostly back Kerry.

So all in all it’s an interesting contest. I am also waiting to see what happens and above all to see exactly the pattern of voting followed by the American women voters. Well now that will be interesting to decipher the results.

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