The Valentine Vote

by Dayo Olopade | February 14, 2008

One of the major stories out of the Potomac primaries was the big margins Obama enjoyed among white men, 56-43 over Hillary Clinton in Virginia, for one example. And of course, Mark Penn famously declared that 25 percent of Republican women would flip over to Hillary in a general election. But as long as we're slicing and dicing the electorate into manageable, Valentine's-Day-chocolate-sized pieces, I'll launch a small theory of my own: single, heterosexual men are more likely Obama supporters than ones in a relationship.

Keep in mind this evidence is purely anecdotal. But I've personally observed a steady stream of Hill-raising women putting the proverbial moves on their significant others, bringing them into Clinton's fold, under pain of...well, you know.

One Hillary supporter--who has, since his conversion, done high-level work on the campaign itself--even told me this: "I was on the fence between Clinton and Obama for a long time and there are a couple things that swayed me. One was my girlfriend, who is a big Hillary supporter. When you have dinner with someone every night they can work you over."

Now this osmotic, gender-based, under-the-bedsheets suasion probably only works part of the time (cf. this NYT piece about vegan-omnivore love), and even close families don't necessarily vote the same way. But if Penn is right (!) could this shadow campaign mean coupled Republican men are not far behind?

--Dayo Olopade

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-plank/the-valentine-vote