The GOP’s Single Mom Problem

A recent study by the Pew Research Center showed that 25% of all households with children were led by single moms. The same study showed that in 40% of all households with children, the woman was the top earner.

In today’s Washington Post, Chris Cilizza writes that this can be a problem for Republicans

What do Pew’s findings mean for politics — especially at the presidential level?

Let’s start with the fact that single moms have been a solidly Democratic group in each of the past two presidential races. In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama won 74 percent of single moms — defined for these purposes as unmarried women living in households with children under 18. Obama followed that by winning 75 percent among that group in his contest with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in November. In both of those elections, single moms constituted 6 percent of the overall electorate.

Of course, given the ethnic, racial and age overlaps among single mothers and groups — voters under 30, minorities, women — that backed President Obama (regardless of whether they had children), the fact that single mothers tend to be strongly Democratic should not be terribly surprising.

But, dig further into the exit polling from 2012 and you see Obama heavily overperforming among single mothers across all demographic groups, not just those who tended to favor him in November.

Take white voters. Obama lost to Romney among white voters, 59 percent to 39 percent. But among white single mothers, Obama bested Romney 56 percent to 43 percent. Lower-income voters are another good example. Obama took 60 percent to Romney’s 38 percent in all households making $50,000 or less a year. Among under-$50,000 households that also included a single mother, Obama took a whopping 79 percent to Romney’s 20 percent.

The single mom problem is a symptom of the Republican Party’s problem overall with single women.

The best approach is one that combines compassionate understanding of non-traditional families and an opportunity agenda is the best way to approach the issue of single motherhood and the children that result.