The gender gap is the tendency of women to favor Democrats. In the 2000 election there was a 22 point gender gap. Less noted at the time was another gap, the marriage gap. This is the tendency of married people to favor Republicans. In the 2000 election the marriage gap was 28 points -- already larger than the gender gap.
A fascinating new study by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner has found that the gender gap has declined, while the marriage gap has gone up. In fact, they project that in the 2008 election, the gender gap will be 15 points, but the marriage gap will be 35 points. The main conclusion that GQR draws is that if the Democrats can mobilize unmarried women, they will win hugely. Unmarried women are the backbone of the Democratic electorate, second only to African-Americans as a reliable bloc. In fact, since African-American voters are so much more likely to be unmarried women, there is a big overlap. Unmarried women are to the Democratic vote what white evangelicals are to the Republican vote. And, unlike African-Americans, the unmarried women bloc is as big as the white evangelical bloc, if not bigger.
The problem for Democrats in taking advantage of the huge advantage they have among unmarried women is that unmarried women have been much less likely to vote than married women. Until, GQR argue, now. Now, unmarried women are so mad at the Bush administration and the Republican Party in general that they say they are going to vote in 2008 at much higher rates than in the past. Unmarried women in general favor Democrats over Republicans by almost 50 points, and young unmarried women favor Democrats by nearly 70 points.
Unmarried women, say GQR, are the "Democrats' evangelicals." Now all the Democrats need to do is mobilize them.