Could suburban, women voters in Pennsylvania define this year’s election? That’s what some political experts are saying.
This election has been a struggle, to say the least.
Debbie Beutler of Mechanicsburg lets out a long groan and says, “You know what? I will vote for Donald Trump.”
Women like Beutler, a loyal Republican, are in the middle of it all.
“I know amongst the ladies that I’m friends with, it’s what we talk about, and everybody has different opinions about things,” she said.
That’s because middle-aged, white women typically are swing voters.
Elizabeth Nichol of Carlisle is a perfect example. She registered as a Democrat this year but says, “I actually ended up voting for George Bush the first time.”
This year, experts say swing voters could be especially important, even election-defining in Pennsylvania.
“The gender thing tends to make them more liberal, more democratic in their voting, but being married and not in the 18-25 demographic also means that they might have slightly more conservative voting preferences,” said Kathleen Marchetti, a political science professor at Dickinson College.
That puts the focus on Pennsylvania’s suburban areas since big cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh generally lean left. But this year, polls show those typically-Republic women are leaning left, too.
“Comments about gender and women have been an issue for Trump, kind of from the beginning of this campaign,” Marchetti said.
A recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute shows white women voters without a college education are evenly split when they have historically voted Republican.
We asked if that means our swing state, swing-voting women could choose our next president.
“They could, absolutely they could,” Marchetti replied.
Experts say we should expect to see both candidates back in Pennsylvania during the last push of this election season, probably reaching out to white, suburban women.