|A new report released last week
highlights the growing influence that unmarried voters may have
on American politics in the coming years.
"Unmarried America 2007" was
published by Women's Voices Women Vote in cooperation with Lake
The Hill, a political newspaper
in Washington D.C., and National Public Radio, immediately
picked up on the news as did several overseas news sources.
According to the report,
"unmarried citizens are a surging force in American politics."
Currently, there are almost 90 million unmarried adult citizens.
More than 52 million of the nation's 90 million unmarried adults
are registered voters, while "almost 37 million are eligible but
not registered to vote."
The authors describe unmarried
women -- and to a lesser extent, unmarried men -- as the
nation’s “biggest untapped political resource.”
In other key findings, the report
-- The majority of American
households (50.3%) are now headed by unmarried adults.
-- Unmarried voters are
change oriented and they want progressive change.
-- Unmarried America is
economically marginalized compared to married America, and
this motivates much of their impulse for change.
-- Unmarried Americans are
cynical about the government, believing that their voice
goes unheard and that the government is run by an elite few.
This cynicism is a barrier to their participation.
-- Government corruption is a
common theme underlying the attitudes of unmarried Americans
In a conference call with
reporters, Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said that
50 million women 18 and over are single, separated, divorced or
widowed. Of the nation’s big demographic groups, including
Hispanics and African-Americans, single women are growing the
she said, is that many single women don't go to the polls.
For example, in 2004, only
about 55 percent of single women voted, while 71 percent of
married women voted.
Of the single women who do
vote, Lake said they overwhelmingly favor change. Issues
of major concern to single women are wages, health care, and
ending the war in Iraq.
interview with Anthony Brooks on National Public Radio, Page
Gardner suggested that
single women are the new electoral bloc for politicians to
court, noting that the biggest political divide in America is
between married and unmarried people. Gardner is the
President of Women's Voices Women Vote.
"There are almost 37 million
unmarried adults who could be targeted for voter registration
drives – including more than 18 million unmarried women," the
report states. "These unmarried women make up 25 percent
of the eligible American electorate – a larger share than
eligible African Americans and the growing Latino citizenry
Between the 2002 and 2006 midterm
elections, unmarried women showed the greatest increase in
number of voters. "They are the nation's fastest growing
large demographic," the report states.
According to the report, Iraq is
the dominant issue for unmarried Americans, but other issues
like health care and the economy offer real opportunities to
mobilize unmarried adults to register and to vote.
Since unmarried voters lean
heavily toward the Democratic Party in their voting habits,
perhaps this report will not be ignored by Democratic
presidential hopefuls as they gear up for the 2008 elections.
To read other editions of
Column One, click here.
Unmarried America 2007
Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director of Unmarried America, is an
attorney with 33 years of experience in singles' rights, family
diversity, domestic partner benefits, and marital status discrimination.
Each week he adds a new commentary to Column One: Eye on Unmarried
firstname.lastname@example.org. Unmarried America is a nonprofit
information service for unmarried employees, consumers, taxpayers, and