As both political parties work on strengthening and increasing its base of support, there is one group which both parties are working hard on attracting, and that is the woman vote. Today, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s campaign announced its “Women for Mitt” coalition at an event in Florida. One of its key messages is to fight back what Democrats and progressives have been calling the Republican “war on women.” Today, Romney’s women supporters fought back.
“I think the ‘war on women’ is a faux, completely made-up thing,” says Rachel Campos-Duffy, author, tv host and former MTV “Real World” and “Road Rules” star. Campos-Duffy is also the mother of six young children and the wife of Wisconsin Republican congressman Sean Duffy, also a former tv star. Born and raised in Arizona, Campos-Duffy is one of fifteen prominent women named to the Women for Mitt National Advisory Board, and the group’s chairman will be Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann Romney.
Campos Duffy says she is excited to be an integral part of the Romney campaign. “I’m committed to helping to helping Mitt’s campaign defeat President Obama this fall.”
Democrats and progressives have been waging an aggressive campaign to win over women voters, repeatedly attacking recent Republican legislation restricting abortion and eliminating Planned Parenthood funding, as well as the GOP fight over the new health care law and equal pay legislation. Recently First Lady Michelle Obama held a “town hall” with Latinas and argued her husband’s policies are more in line with Hispanic women. Latina actress Eva Longoria, who is an active campaigner for President Obama, recently said in an interview it is not about the “Latino” vote as much as it is about the “female” vote and women’s primary concern over health care.
Romney supporter Campos-Duffy disagrees, and says the issues of most concern to women are jobs for their children as well as limited government and free enterprise. Campos Duffy said the national debt is “an immoral legacy to our children.” She also disputes the fact that women support greater government intervention. ” All these government programs, they are a false form of bigotry and are very disempowering,” Campos Duffy says. She also supports the Romney campaign for its anti-abortion platform. “If we take away all the stereotypes, our natural home is in the Republican party,” Campos Duffy says.
Political scientist Matt Barreto says both parties are correct in identifying women, particularly Latinas, as a key voting block. “It is a well-established belief that Latina women are influential in their family when it comes to politics and issues, and women tend to talk to family members about their views on these topics,” he explains.
Barreto says, however, Latino Decisions polling consistently shows Hispanic women are four to seven points more likely to support more progressive preferences than men, in areas such as health care, abortion rights or government investment. While Barreto says Latina voters might be a tougher group for Republicans to attract, he does say he understands why they would be a natural target for their campaign, and why high-profile Latinas are good spokespeople for both parties. Recently the Republican National Committee announced New Mexico governor Susana Martinez will be one of the prominent speakers at the Republican National Convention.
“Female voters are more influential in their families,” Barreto states.