Business Week argues that it's not about the white men this election, but rather lower-middle-class white women, the "Wal-Mart Women" as they call the demographic. These are the nearly 20 percent of American women who shop at Wal-Mart once a week or more, and they are, for the most part, a solid swing voting demographic. Forty-one percent of frequent Wal-Mart shoppers make less than $35,000 a year, (compared to 25 percent of the general population), and 39 percent have a high school education or less. We talk about the soccer mom vote, which is wealthier and more educated, and we talk about the blue-collar male vote. But the importance of "Wal-Mart Women" in the general election is often overlooked.
It's clear now that this demographic helped Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania yesterday. In national match-ups, Clinton beats John McCain 50 percent to 44 percent in this demographic, but in a McCain-Obama race, McCain wins 51 percent to 41 percent. These are women worried about jobs, health care, the economy, and education, and many of them, despite voting for George Bush in 2004, are dissatisfied with the Republican Party. Whether or not Democrats will be able to care them this year is an important question too often overlooked in the battle to carry their male counterparts.