WHAT DO WOMEN WANT?
Ever wonder what a soccer mom does on weekdays? Chances are better than you might think that she owns her own business. And in that role, she could be a decisive voter in November's presidential election.
The organization Women Impacting Public Policy, a nonpartisan group 500,000 members strong, has been touting an intriguing poll it commissioned last year to make the case that woman business owners could be a pivotal voting bloc in presidential politics. The poll made these points: 1 in 13 adult women in America owns a business, they almost always vote (90 percent say they have done so in every recent election), they do not tilt toward one party or the other (38 percent independent, 30 percent Republican, 27 percent Democratic), they will constitute perhaps as much as 10 percent of the electorate, and about 20 percent are genuinely undecided about who will get their vote in the fall.
John Kerry was impressed enough with all this that he participated in a conference call this morning with about 2,000 of the group's members from around the country. In his remarks, Kerry talked mostly about healthcare. He talked of his plan to have the federal government pick up 75 percent of the cost of insuring catastrophic health problems, which he says would reduce health insurance costs to employers by $1,000 per year per insured family. He also said he would offer tax credits for small businesses that provide health insurance to employees.
The group has co-founders: Oklahoma Republican Terry Neese, a Bush Ranger by virtue of having raised at least $100,000 for President Bush>, and San Francisco Democrat Barbara Kasoff, who serves on Kerry's Small Business Policy Committee.
The two are not timid in their efforts to flex their political muscle. Kasoff told those on the call this morning to "tune in, listen in, make up your minds and elect the next President of the United States."
The group hopes to persuade Bush to participate in a similar conference call.