The Republican challenger to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Thursday blamed his double-digit lag in the polls on single women and mothers who vote Democratic because they are “wed” to the social safety net and “need benefits to survive.”
Jeff Bell told the Asbury Park Press that it’s that government-dependent female demographic, not his socially conservative views on issues like abortion and access to contraception, that is weighing him down.
“I’ve done a lot of thinking about this and looked at a lot of different polls, I think it has more to do with the rise in single women,” he explained. “Single mothers particularly are automatically Democratic because of the benefits. They need benefits to survive, and so that kind of weds them to the Democratic Party.”
“But single women who have never married and don’t have children are also that way,” he added. “If you take married women, they aren’t that different from married men. So it’s really a problem with the decline in marriage rates. The Democrats do benefit from that.”
The GOP as a whole seems to have warmed recently to the idea of courting single women, whom a Fox News panelist once tellingly dubbed “Beyonce voters” who “depend on government because they’re not depending on their husbands.” Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show this week that the GOP “would be well-advised to set up a dating service and to embark on a policy of arranging dates for as many single women as possible.”
The College Republican National Committee also recently released a series of ads aimed at young women that were modeled after the TLC show “Say Yes To The Dress.” Those ads cast a number of Republican gubernatorial candidates as the “perfect” wedding dress, in contrast to their Democratic opponents, who were described as “expensive” and “outdated.”
But Bell doesn’t seem to be preoccupied about how to win over single women and mothers. The candidate told the Asbury Park Press that he’s not worried about the gender gap in the polls as long as he can maintain an edge among male voters.
“Even before the gender gap appeared, men were more willing to vote for change,” Bell told the newspaper. “They’re more bomb-throwers. Women are more cautious. If you’re doing well among men, that is something that an insurgent candidate needs.”
This post has been updated.