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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cuccinelli Demonstrates GOP's Crisis with Women Voters

It's a poll that should scare the Bejeezus out of every teabagging Republican everywhere in the nation. At first glance, it's just another survey showing former Hillary campaign manager Terry McAuliffe pummeling Republican state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia governor's race. The trend is now so well set that that part of it comes as no surprise at all. But the big story is why he's losing so badly.

Washington Post: Democrat Terry McAuliffe has opened a double-digit lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli II in the race for Virginia governor, in a new poll capturing increasing dissatisfaction among voters with Cuccinelli’s party and his conservative views.

According to a new Washington Post/Abt SRBI poll, McAuliffe tops Cuccinelli 51?percent to 39?percent among likely voters in the Nov. 5 election. McAuliffe led by eight percentage points in a poll taken last month. Libertarian Robert Sarvis, who has capitalized on voter unrest with the two major-party candidates, is at 8 percent, according to the new poll.

The margin between the two major-party candidates is driven by a huge gender gap. Among men, the two candidates are running even, with Cuccinelli at 45 percent and McAuliffe at 44 percent. But among women, Cuccinelli trails by 24 points — 58 percent to 34 percent.
Cuccinelli is a religious right figure, as well as a Tea Party type -- and despite the teabaggers' insistence that they're a secular movement driven by economic concerns, Cuccinelli is what they all are. And what they all are is a pack of religious, as well as political, extremists. Ken Cuccinelli's big claim to fame is his crusade to save sodomy laws as a work-around to make homosexuality illegal.


But Ken's religious whackjobbery doesn't end at homophobia. It never does with these guys. In order to be a bona fide religious right nutcase, your first love and primary religious issue has to be abortion and women's rights. Ken Cuccinelli is profoundly anti-woman. He opposes a woman's right to choose, as well as contraception coverage.

And the Tea Party's view of women's issues is no better on the more secular side. They oppose food stamps and school lunch programs, various forms of government assistance and programs to aid families -- all of which affect women in particular, especially single mothers. And of course you don't have to be a single mother to learn about how damaging these policies are, you just have to know one. Combine all of this with the kneejerk anti-feminism of the Republican Party as a whole and you've mixed up a wreaking, toxic batch of woman voter repellent.

And damn, is that repellent ever working.

No wonder the Republican War on Voting includes attacks on female voters. This is, after all, not just a local Virginia phenomenon. In fact, recent polling shows that the damage is actually worse nationally. Where Cuccinelli is down a mere 24 points among women, polling finds that "one-third said Republicans had moved further away from their views." And that's only the percentage of respondents who said their opinions had changed. The percentage who reported no change -- 46% -- had to include plenty of Democratic voters already.

If Ken Cuccinelli represents one thing to Republicans, it should be a glimpse of their future. Years of wedge politics have left them with an ever shrinking portion of the electorate, as they pit men against women, whites against minorities, straights against gays, and middle class against impoverished. They've left themselves with a rapidly vanishing breed of elephant; the white, straight rural evangelical. Unless they make some changes and accept reality, they're going extinct right along with these guys.

The good news for everyone else is that Republicans don't do reality. If they don't like reality, they don't accept it. And so they seal their own fate.


[photo by Gage Skidmore]

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