Meet the New Swing Voters: Walmart Moms

The dawn of an electoral buzzword

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A new demographic buzzword may be upon us: Walmart moms. (Let's call it a compound buzzword, in deference to the two components.) Neil Newshouse and Alex Bratty of Public Opinion Strategies, along with Margie Omero of Momentum Analysis, have just released the results of a Walmart-funded survey. Conflicts of interest aside, they've found some interesting things, and political insiders are intrigued: Walmart moms look like they could be the new crucial group of swing voters. Here's why:

As we've seen in many elections--and Nov 2010 will likely be no different--understanding swing voters means understanding women, particularly mothers. Walmart Moms are cross-pressured and conflicted--they approve of President Obama and want to see a government that helps people rather than stays out of the way. Yet, these voters are strongly negative toward Congress and lean toward voting for Republicans in the Fall. Walmart Moms are the quintessential swing vote ...

The survey also pulls out some numbers to back this up. It it official, then? Are Walmart moms the new "soccer moms"?

  • How Walmart Moms Think  The survey also says that these women "have personalized the nation’s economic struggles, impacting not only their financial well-being, but their personal relationships ... At roughly 16% of the electorate, candidates ignore this key voting segment at their own peril." Specifically, Newhouse tells Politico's Mike Allen that "this is a classic group that Democrats have to win. Both Democrats and Republicans have got to communicate to these voters NOT on national economic stuff, but on kitchen-table economic issues."
  • A Passing Fad  "Soon enough, of course," predicts Mike Allen, "Walmart Moms will be banished to the land of cast-off swing voters, now inhabited by Walmart women, soccer moms, waitress moms, security moms, angry white men, office-park dads, NASCAR dads and wired workers."
  • A Grain of Salt  "The survey," writes The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, pointing out the obvious, "is rightly taken cum grano salis since it is paid for by Wal-Mart and conducted via the Internet which remains a somewhat controversial approach in polling circles. That said, it provides a fascinating window into a group of voters widely seen as one of the most critical demographic groups--the new 'soccer moms'--in electoral politics heading into the 2010 midterms and 2012 presidential race.
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