The Voter Participation Center - Activities - Research


WVWV released its first two studies in March 2004, one in collaboration with pollsters Anna Greenberg and Stan Greenberg, the other with Celinda Lake. These studies found that single women register to vote and vote at a markedly lower rate than married women and that marital status is a top determinant in whether one registers and/or votes. They concluded that if unmarried women had voted at the same rates as married women in the 2000 election, the numbers would have been enough to have decidedly changed the outcome of the election in favor of Al Gore.

WVWV has issued several reports commissioned from Lake Research Partners on the changing demographics of America, tracking the growth, socio-economic characteristics and voting behavior of unmarried women and other traditionally under-represented groups. In addition, WVWV research has also documented obstacles to voter registration and election reforms best suited to improve voter registration and turnout numbers. According to WVWV research, some of the greatest barriers to voter participation include unnecessary rules limiting early and absentee voting, voter identification requirements, and inconsistent state regulations concerning voter lists and registration guidelines. In an effort to focus the attention of lawmakers and election reform groups on these obstacles, WVWV released a report titled, "Access to Democracy: Identifying Obstacles Hindering the Right to Vote".

The VPC also focuses on educating policymakers and media on issues impacting what it calls the "rising American electorate", including a series of reports produced in March 2010, in partnership with the Center for American Progress. The VPC and CAP papers focused on the impact of legislative issues including healthcare, childcare, paycheck fairness and training in non-traditional professions on the economic security of unmarried women. Later that year, in October 2010, the organization released a joint study with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research focusing on voting trends, which found that unmarried women favor Democratic candidates by a 67 percent to 28 percent margin. In comparison, the same study found that married women lean Republican by 52 percent to 40 percent. According to Page Gardner, the study's results suggest that there is not a traditional gender gap between men and women, but rather a gap between unmarried and married women.

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