A poll released Thursday by Generation Opportunity revealed the extent of young women’s support for free-market policies.
According to the report, 11.6 percent of women between 18 and 29 do not have a job—a statistic that suggests they may be more worried about economic than social issues. Of the 1,003 adults surveyed online between July 27 and July 31, 2012, 77 percent favor reductions in federal spending and 66 percent believe “if taxes on business were reduced, companies would be more likely to hire.”
Sixty-six percent would support “reducing federal spending over raising taxes on individuals to balance the federal budget.”
The widespread support for conservative fiscal policy suggests dissatisfaction with the current administration. Only 37 percent of the women polled think “today’s political leaders reflect the interests of young Americans.” Of those who responded to the survey, 78 percent plan to vote in the presidential election on Nov. 6.
“Young women are savvy—they’re looking for solutions,” said Amber S. Roseboom, executive vice president of Generation Opportunity. “When campaigns aren’t able to talk about the large sweeping issues like jobs, they focus on issues on the periphery in order to drive a wedge” in the electorate.
Barack Obama won 68 percent of the youth vote in 2008, but Roseboom said that this year, “Young Americans say they’re more focused on issues than charisma.” A recent poll conducted by the Harvard Institute of Politics showed depressed enthusiasm for Obama among under-30 voters.
Ninety percent of respondents said the difficult economy forced them to change their daily lives. Fifty-six percent reduced their food and grocery budget, while 27 percent moved in with family, took on extra roommates, or moved into a cheaper home.
“Those numbers represent real lives,” Roseboom said.
More than four in five respondents said they have delayed or might not undertake a major life event such as buying their own home (40 percent), going back to school (35 percent), starting a family (28 percent), or getting married (22 percent).
“Young people are less impressed by endorsements,” Roseboom said. “They want to know they’re going to see results.”
Hadley Heath, senior policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum, agreed with Roseboom. “Women, broadly, are more focused on the economy and jobs,” she said.
Heath—a young, unmarried woman—called the Democrat’s “War on Women” not only “preposterous,” but also an insult.
“It is insulting to women to put our issues in a box because they relate to the female body or contraception,” she said. “All issues are women’s issues.”
Heath praised former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. “He’s never treated women any less than he’s treated men,” she said.
Still, Heath worried Romney might “buy into the idea that gender parity is the goal.” Aiming to increase the number of women in Congress or in other leadership positions could be seen as “some kind of affirmative action.” It could imply to some that women are the “weaker sex.”
“To me, it’s more important that we have the best candidates for a job,” Heath said.
According to a recent poll by USA Today / Gallup, Romney is narrowing the gender gap among all women. Obama’s lead is down to a single point among likely female voters.
Kerry Healey, Romney’s lieutenant governor in Massachusetts, said in a statement that he “didn’t judge the people who were in his administration by their gender. He wanted the best, male or female.”
Young women see through these attacks, Heath explained. “Really, I think there’s a war on entrepreneurship.”
Natalie Knudsen, an art professional in LA and a May 2012 graduate from Hillsdale College, said “the ‘War on Women’ is the real war on women. … The wars women face are the same wars men fight, and the main one of today is the economy,” she said.
According to a recent poll by USA Today, Romney is narrowing the gender gap among all women: Obama’s lead is down to a single point among likely female voters in swing states.
Obama’s policies may have restricted young people’s pocketbooks, but they have also taught this generation to use money wisely. “Because of economic stagnation, the millennial generation is going to be a more frugal generation that those before us,” Heath said.