Anna Greenberg and Dave Walker

Women's Voices Women Vote


Executive Summary

Four groups played a key role in the progressive victory last November—unmarried women, African American voters, Latinos and younger voters. These groups all increased turnout in 2008 and all increased their Democratic margin relative to the 2004 Kerry vote.

These groups also represent a fundamental change in our nation demographically, as this nation grows more diverse racially, younger and less likely to be married. These voters represent the Rising American Electorate and constitute an outright majority of the voting age population.

Historically, they have also failed to participate in our democracy at the same levels as other voters. 

Therefore, Women’s Voices. Women Vote commissioned a survey oversampling these voters, exploring their agenda, their reaction to the new Administration and their commitment to voting in 2010. This is one of the few publicly available surveys with representative samples of these hard-to-reach populations.

Key Findings

  • Not entirely surprisingly, these voters consistently give higher marks to Barack Obama than we see elsewhere, including support for his stimulus package.
  • This Rising American Electorate has a somewhat different agenda than other voters. While the economy is a concern throughout the country, it is particularly acute among these voters. They tend to favor policy options that have a more direct impact on their lives—issues like raising the minimum wage and pay-check fairness for women.
  • While they are confident in Obama, they are at real risk of dropping out of the 2010 electorate. Only 60 percent are almost certain voters, compared to 75 percent of other voters. Put another way, the voters that gave Obama 69 percent of the vote share in 2008 are significantly less committed to the 2010 mid-term elections than the voters that gave McCain 58 percent of the vote share.


This survey was commissioned by Women’s Voices. Women Vote. Between January 22nd and February 3, 2009, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner interviewed 1,659 2008 voters, including oversamples of unmarried women (645 total interviews), African Americans (292 total interviews), Latinos (263 interviews) and youth (337 total interviews). As the youth population has become increasingly inaccessible using traditional land-line interviewing, this segment employed a multi-modal research design using land-lines, cell phone and web interviewing. The total margin of error for this survey is +/- 2.41 points at a 95 percent confidence level.