State GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams told the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel that women — particularly “security moms” in the suburbs south of Denver — are the critical swing voters in Colorado this year:
In particular, women aged 30 to 50, located in several suburban counties to the south of Denver. According to Mr. Wadhams, who’s also running Bob Schaffer’s Senate campaign, suburban women have been the must-have constituency of recent elections. These suburbanite females tend to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative — but place their voting emphasis on the latter. And they are capable of voting for either party: They were the swing voters who elected retiring GOP Senator Wayne Allard and former GOP Governor Bob Owens, but also elected Democratic Senator Ken Salazar and Democratic Governor Bob Ritter.
Recent polls have shown a distinct generation gap among Colorado voters — with Obama ahead by 22 points among voters under 35 and John McCain ahead 17 points among voters 65 and older. Voters between those ages split evenly between the two candidates. The same poll showed Obama leading 47-41 among suburban women.
Where others see contrary trends, Wadhams sees opportunity:
This year, Mr. Wadhams is surprisingly bullish on GOP chances because, he says, John McCain is uniquely situated to capture the suburban female swing vote. Mr. McCain’s emphasis on fiscal responsibility plays especially well with this crowd and, as “security moms,” they value his leadership on foreign policy. Moreover, helping to shift the needle recently, “these voters are really moved by the energy issue” and highly supportive of Mr. McCain’s call for more drilling. (Ditto Mr. Wadhams’ Senate candidate, Bob Schaffer, who has used the energy issue to gain on his Democratic opponent, Rep. Mark Udall.)