by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Samuel Abrams and Joel Kotkin document an important voting bloc in American politics.
Soccer Moms are giving way to Single Woke Females – the new “SWFs” – as one of the most potent voting blocs in American politics.
Unmarried women without children have been moving toward the Democratic Party for several years, but the 2022 midterms may have been their electoral coming-out party as they proved the chief break on the predicted Republican wave. While married men and women as well as unmarried men broke for the GOP, CNN exit polls found that 68% of unmarried women voted for Democrats.
The Supreme Court’s August decision overturning Roe v. Wade was certainly a special factor in the midterms, but longer-term trends show that single, childless women are joining African Americans as the Democrats’ most reliable supporters.
Their power is growing thanks to the demographic winds. The number of never married women has grown from about 20% in 1950 to over 30% in 2022, while the percentage of married women has declined from almost 70% in 1950 to under 50% today. Overall, the percentage of married households with children has declined from 37% in 1976 to 21% today. …
… There’s clearly far less stigma attached to being single and unpartnered. Single women today have many impressive role models of unattached, childless women who have succeeded on their own – like Taylor Swift and much of the U.S. women’s soccer team. This phenomenon is not confined to the United States. Marriage and birthrates have fallen in much of the world, including Europe and Japan. Writing in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, columnist Emma John observed that, “Singleness is no longer to be sneered at. Never marrying or taking a long-term partner is increasingly seen as a valid choice.”
The rise of SWFs – a twist on the personal ad abbreviation for single white female – is one of the great untold stories of American politics. Distinct from divorced women or widows, these largely Gen Z and Millennial voters share a sense of collective identity and progressive ideology that sets them apart from older women.