September 14, 2004

comScore Networks released the results of a study examining the factors influencing the voting plans of American women in the upcoming presidential election. The study integrates a full range of demographic, attitudinal and lifestyle information to focus on the factors influencing the attitudes, intentions and decisions of closely followed segments, such single women and “security moms.” The study was conducted online by surveying registered women voters who have Internet access, during the period between September 24 and September 29, 2004, by comScoreQ2, the custom research division of comScore Networks.

“The expected impact of younger women and particularly that of the “security mom” segment on the outcome of the election has been the focus of a great deal of attention. This study indicates far more complex underlying dynamics across female voter groups,” said Linda Abraham, executive vice president of comScore Networks. “In a race as tight as this one, the candidate that understands and addresses these dynamics might well come out ahead.”

What’s driving the Differences -- Motherhood or Marriage?

The central assumption behind the concept of the “security mom” segment is that women with children are more likely to be concerned about terrorism and therefore favor President Bush because of his aggressive stance on the issue. comScore’s study found that while mothers are indeed likely to vote for President Bush, a woman’s marital status alone is at least as much of an indicator of voting intention. Specifically, 51 percent of married women without children say they will vote for George Bush, while 56 percent of married women with children say they will vote for the President – a difference of only 5 percentage points. In sharp contrast, only 33 percent of unmarried women responded that they would vote for Bush.
comScore found that the differences between married and unmarried women persist across age and income groups. For example, Bush is favored by married women, whether aged 18 to 34 or 35 to 54 and regardless of whether they are a member of the low or high income group. Conversely, women who have never been married are more likely to choose Kerry regardless of their age or income.

Terrorism vs. the Economy

While comScore found that married mothers do put a greater emphasis on terrorism, the economy is an extremely important issue with all segments of women voters. This is especially true of married women without children, who are significantly more likely to respond that the economy is more important than terrorism.

As expected, women who are more concerned with terrorism are far more likely to vote for Bush, while Kerry is particularly strong with those that are more focused on economic issues. Nearly three-quarters of female decided voters who are more concerned with terrorism say they will vote for Bush, while more than 60 percent of those who are more concerned with economic issues say they will support Kerry.

Lifestyles & Interests

In an effort to better understand how female voters’ lifestyles and interests differ between Bush and Kerry supporters, comScore examined the lifestyle of each group as indicated by their online behavior patterns. The analysis revealed that Bush supporters are 76 percent more likely than the general online population to visit sites in the Community-Family category, 75 percent more likely to visit the Sports category, 50 percent more likely to visit the Community-Teens category and 15 percent more likely to visit the Politics category.

Women who support Kerry are 45 percent more likely to visit Financial Information and Advice sites, 65 percent more likely to visit Entertainment-Movies sites and 89 percent more likely to visit sites in the Health-Information category. Kerry supporters are also significantly more likely to visit e-commerce categories, such as Retail-Books and Travel.

comScore also found pronounced lifestyle skews among undecided female voters. For example, these women are significantly more likely than average to visit Community and Health related sites. Conversely, the Sports and Travel categories are more popular among decided female voters than the average Internet user.

“For campaigns that need to target undecided voters, online advertising offers a compelling opportunity to precisely reach voters of specific mindsets,” noted Ms. Abraham. “These preferences can also be applied to reach consumers through television and other media that offer similar distinct programming choices.”

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