A new nationwide survey shows that "Wal-Mart Moms" -- a voting bloc coveted by both national parties -- are deeply conflicted about President Barack Obama and the coming midterm elections.
The survey, which was conducted for Wal-Mart by Republican pollster Neil Newhouse and Democratic pollster Margie Omero via the Internet, is the first expansive polling study of who "Wal-Mart Moms" really are and how they feel about politics.
(For the purposes of the survey, Newhouse and Omero defined Wal-Mart Moms as women with children under the age of 18 living at home who had shopped and bought something at Wal-Mart at least once in the past month.)
Wal-Mart Moms tend to be younger than women overall (71 percent are between 18-44 years old) and white (67 percent); their household income on average falls heavily into two categories -- those who make under $50,000 (46 percent) and those who make between $50,000 and $100,000 (43 percent). Three quarters of them offer support for environmental groups and nearly half (46 percent) describe themselves as moderates.
By the calculations of Newhouse and Omero, Wal-Mart Moms comprise 30 percent of all female voters, making them approximately 16 percent of the overall electorate.
Their views about politics, at least according to this poll, are decidedly fractured. Slightly more than half (53 percent) of Wal-Mart Moms approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing and 43 percent of the group identify themselves as Democrats as compared to 39 percent who call themselves Republicans.
But, asked whether would support a generic Republican or a generic Democrat for Congress this fall, 40 percent chose the former option while 37 percent opted for the latter. (Women overall in the survey favored Democrats on the generic ballot 39 percent to 37 percent.)
The slight edge for Republicans seems to be born of two factors: dissatisfaction with the health care law and significant economic anxiety. Fifty-two percent of Wal-Mart Moms said they opposed the health care bill (31 percent strongly opposed it) while 38 percent expressed support for the legislation. A whopping two-thirds said they were dissatisfied with their current financial situation as compared to just 34 percent who pronounced themselves satisfied.
The survey is rightly taken cum grano salis since it is paid for by Wal-Mart and conducted via the Internet which remains a somewhat controversial approach in polling circles.
That said, it provides a fascinating window into a group of voters widely seen as one of the most critical demographic groups -- the new "soccer moms" -- in electoral politics heading into the 2010 midterms and 2012 presidential race. (Continues here at WaPo)