|This Dec. 5, 2012, photo, shows Sara Stevenson as she warms up for a yoga class at Root Yoga in Denver. Stevenson spends her working hours surrounded by Republicans, namely the married men who work alongside her in a Denver oil and gas firm company. But after hours and on weekends, she usually spends her time with other single women, and there's not a Republican in sight among the bunch. As Republicans dust off their Election Day drubbing last month, their party must confront the reality that the ranks of unmarried women are growing rapidly, and these voters overwhelmingly have backed Democrats for decades. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)|
Many single women, a key bloc, are avoiding GOP
The Obama campaign attacked Romney on the airwaves over his refusal to support the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, his opposition to federal dollars for Planned Parenthood and his opposition to abortion rights.
Katy Atkinson, a GOP consultant in Denver, said that two elections in a row should be a warning sign for the GOP.
‘‘That whole fighting social issues with economic issues just doesn’t work,’’ she said. Atkinson noted that both Romney, as well as Bennet’s opponent, Ken Buck, contended that women really cared about pocketbook issues rather than reproductive issues. ‘‘While women care about pocketbook issues, they don’t want to elect an extremist.’’
Conway said the GOP can win over unmarried women on economic matters. ‘‘What do women, married or unmarried, do every week?’’ Conway asked. ‘‘Do they fill up the gas tank or get an abortion?’’
Lauren Koebcke, 32, is a glimmer of hope for Republicans. She is single, favors gay marriage and abortion rights but sides with the GOP on economic issues. The bad news for the GOP is that she’s the only one of her single friends who votes Republican.
‘‘Most people I know are Democrats and most Democrats I know are single,’’ said Koebcke, a project manager in Austin, almost 300 miles west of Denver. ‘‘Most Republicans want home and hearth. They want babies and that family life.’’
Stevenson isn’t sure whether she wants a family. ‘‘Most of us didn’t make any money until we were 26 year old and we want to enjoy ourselves,’’ she said. She logs 11 hour days analyzing legal issues for her energy company. ‘‘I can’t imagine coming home and having to cook dinner and deal with someone else’s problems,’’ she said. ‘‘I'm not there yet.’’
She also knows that Republicans won’t be getting her vote anytime soon.
Republican Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana infuriated her when they tried to explain why they think rape victims shouldn’t be allowed to have abortions. Stevenson stayed up late on election night just to confirm that they both lost.
The women’s issues that Obama emphasized, such as equal pay for women and contraception coverage, are pocketbook issues to Stevenson. The fact that GOP candidates denigrated them as social issues just shows how out of touch the GOP is, she said.
‘‘There are just so many off-putting comments from the Republican party,’’ Stevenson said. ‘‘It’s crazy to me that they’re still acting as if women are a niche market.’’
Associated Press Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta in Washington contributed to this report.
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