Candidates use Internet to reach female voters

About 8 million more women than men voted in the 2004 presidential election, according to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). And while men may be more visible in politics – as well as on political blogspace – women are online, too, and presidential candidates are trying to find ways to reach them, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leading the way.

Mindy Finn, Romney’s director of e-strategy, told New York Times columnist Katharine Q. Seelye that it’s easier to find women online because they tend to go online for a specific purpose – for example, to find information about health care, parenting and cooking. Therefore, Finn said, using women’s interests as a way to seek them out online is ideal.

Plans to reach women online

  • The Romney camp will start tagging women-related keywords (such as health care), so that female Internet searchers will be directed to Romney-related items, in this case, his health-care plan (video)
  • Campaign directors for Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) are reaching out to women with the aid of a band of female bloggers who run a site called Momocrats.com, on which the members post to each other’s blogs. It is described by a founder as a community of mothers who blog, and who also “see the need to bridge the gap between the campaign and the community”
  • Clinton’s supporters are sending out “HillGrams,” weekly e-mails with updates to her campaign and issues about which women care

The point?

There were more than 20 million single, female, eligible voters who did not vote in 2004 (according to Clinton), and candidates are trying to use any means possible to get their attention in the next election. This will be especially important for Clinton, considering that she is the first and only serious female contender for the job; by appealing to women’s values, she will be more likely to get some of those 20 million non-voters to show up at the polls, and increase her chances of victory. In order to compete, Republican frontrunners Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani need to do the same.

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