Feminists, Abortion Rights Win in Virginia
Feminists supported Virginia Democratic Candidates Terry McAuliffe for Governor and Dr. Ralph Northam for Lieutenant Governor in decisive wins, and Mark Herring leads Mark Obenshain for Attorney General by 475 votes, with all precincts reporting. The Attorney General race is close enough to trigger a recount. The Virginia Democratic statewide ticket, which supported abortion rights, gun control, and marriage equality, was endorsed by Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the National Organization for Women, and the Feminist Majority. The Republican ticket, backed by the Tea Party wing, had extreme positions opposing abortion even in the cases of rape and incest, marriage equality, and gun control measures, while favoring restricting birth control.
"The gender gap, led by young, unmarried, and minority women and the abortion and birth control issue, was decisive in the Virginia governor's race," said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority.
The Virginia exit polls on the Governor's race revealed that McAuliffe defeated Cuccinelli with a gender gap of eight points. McAuliffe received 54 percent of women's votes to 38 percent for Cucinelli, and the vote was split among men nearly even with 46 percent for McAuliffe and 47 percent for Cuccinelli. According to the New York Times exit polls, McAuliffe "won 59 percent of the votes of people who said abortion was the most important issue to them, who made up 20 percent of the electorate."
Among women voters, unmarried women gave McAuliffe the greatest advantage. McAuliffe won unmarried women by a whopping 42 percent. Exit polls reported that 67 percent of unmarried women - a category composed of single, divorced, widowed or separated women - favored McAuliffe, and only 25 percent favored Cuccinelli. Page Gardner, President of Women's Voices Women Vote Action Fund, said, "Once again, unmarried women are a major political force in American politics that can make or break a race." Unmarried women in the United States comprise nearly half of the adult women population. According to exit polls, married women, on the other hand, voted 50 percent to 41 percent for Cuccinelli.
Media Resources: ElectionResults.Virginia.gov 11/5/13; The New York Times Exit Polls 2013; Democracy Corps Election Night Press Release 11/5/13