cover image If They Only Listened to Us: What Women Voters Want Politicians to Hear

If They Only Listened to Us: What Women Voters Want Politicians to Hear

Melinda Henneberger, . . Simon & Schuster, $25 (228pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-7896-6

Puzzled by why traditionally Democrat women switched camps and voted for George Bush in the 2004 election, Henneberger, a contributing editor at Newsweek , set out to identify divisive issues among women. Traveling around the country, she talked with a random sample of 234 ordinary women in 20 states—both blue and red. The result is a compelling and surprising look at what most sways women's votes. In 2006, 51% of voters were female; yet, with the exception of professionals trying to juggle motherhood and careers, average women are not asked their opinions on what they consider to be pivotal issues—abortion, religion and gay marriage, among others. While many profess to be Democrats at heart, numerous women switched sides during the presidential election because of just a single issue, even when they agreed with the Democrats on everything else. Even extremely anti-Bush Katrina victims say they won't hold Bush's ineffectiveness against his party, and they will vote for the candidate who supports their belief on the most critical matters. With political campaigning beginning earlier than ever and elections won by the narrowest of margins, politicians on both sides would do well to heed Henneberger's message that for the average woman, all issues are not created equal; candidates would do well to listen to the voices she recounts. (May)