Election Outlook 1998
This feature appeared in November 1998.
"Waitress moms" are content with President Clinton's performance, though they're not so pleased with his personal conduct. With a strong, peacetime economy, there isn't a red-button issue that will drive them to the polls.
Get back to your mini-vans, soccer moms?you're no longer the most sought-after demographic of political candidates. This midterm election season, when a record low voter turnout is expected (somewhere around 30 percent), both Democrats and Republicans alike are after the votes of "waitress moms," described as low-income, mostly white, wishy-washy Democrats, who politicians think will determine the outcome of House, Senate and gubernatorial elections. After all, they constitute 38 percent of eligible voters, according to Stephanie Cohen, communications director of Emily's List, an advocacy group that helps Democratic women with elections.
Pols, however, are troubled by the uncertainty of how?and if?these women will vote. Waitress moms are content with President Clinton's performance, though they're not so pleased with his personal conduct?and these women are values-driven. With a strong, peacetime economy (for the moment), there isn't a red-button issue that will drive them to the polls. While the majority of women stayed away from the 1994 midterm elections (barely 45 million women turned out, 16 million fewer than in the 1992 Presidential election), this time around candidates are trying to woo women voters by highlighting the issues of particular interest to them: education, health care and the future of social security.
It's a toss-up whether the Clinton scandal will motivate women to vote. Some women abhor President Clinton's behavior and will vote for candidates (read: Republicans) that advocate his swift impeachment. Others are fed up with the witch-hunt that has dominated Washington for almost a year and will endorse candidates who want to move on. Still others are so disillusioned with Washington because of the scandal and the way in which it has been handled that they may just stay away.