GOP pollster Neil Newhouse cofounded Public Opinion Strategies, based in Alexandria, Va. He is the pollster for presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Democratic pollster Margie Omero is president of Momentum Analysis in Washington. Both were guest speakers at the Monitor breakfast on Nov. 2 in Washington, where they presented polling data about “Walmart moms” – women voters who shop at Walmart at least once a month and have children under 18 living at home.
Where Walmart moms are in the political landscape:
Mr. Newhouse: “Walmart moms are between 14 and 17 percent of the electorate…. In the 2008 election, [a majority of them] voted for [Barack] Obama. In 2010, they were initially pro-Obama but ended up voting for Republicans for Congress.”
Walmart moms’ view of Washington politics:
Newhouse: “These women are frustrated…. They look at Wall Street getting bailed out, [and they ask], ‘Who’s paying my electric bill?’ They see a government activism that doesn’t impact them directly. They want their share. They want some focus on them as individuals and fighting their battle.”
How candidates can reach out to Walmart moms:
Ms. Omero: “What any candidate can do is really speak directly to, ‘What does [this policy] mean for you and your family?’ The more the debate is about the back-and-forth wrangling in Washington, the less these moms are engaged. The more it is about what does this policy mean for [the fact they are] spending less at Christmas, making all these different cuts in [their] household budget …, the more these moms will be engaged.”
A distinctive characteristic of Walmart moms:
Newhouse: “Everybody has a story – about how their kid came back to live with them, or they are now taking care of a parent…. It is the adaptability of these Walmart moms that is really remarkable in the face of very serious economic circumstances.”
Party enthusiasm in 2012:
Omero: “It’s going to be incumbent on the Republican nominee to get their voters enthusiastic. As I look at some of the polls in the Republican primary field, if there’s a lack of enthusiasm among primary voters, does that translate into a lack of enthusiasm among general-election swing voters?”
Newhouse: “The bottom line is: Republicans can’t wait for this election. I look at 2012 as a continuation of the 2010 election, just like 2008 was a continuation of 2006. And in 2012, I think Republican voters are anxious to turn out President Obama. The energy … comes more from President Obama than any Republican running.”