This just in last Friday from Eleanor Smeal, publisher of Ms. Magazine:
In U.S. elections, women count - to be more precise, women count more. On Nov. 2, 2004, some 8 million more women than men will vote. Right now, women are the majority of undecided voters.

According to Zogby Interactive polls, released just last night, this presidential race is in a "virtual dead heat." Every vote counts. Neither Bush nor Kerry hold a clear cut lead in the electoral college. Zogby, as of September 21, places the electoral count at Kerry 264, Bush 241, with two states (Arkansas and Florida) too close to call. But several other battleground states also are razor-thin.

I know you have been seeing national polls with Bush having a far greater lead. But beware of the polls this year. Some national polls, including Gallup and Newsweek, have a larger percentage of Republicans in their sample than are believed to be the percentage in the electorate. Plus several polls are asking questions right before the presidential preference question that favor Bush. Are we to be surprised by the corporate media pollsters?

Ironically, I am using Zogby polls. Zogby is the Wall Street Journal pollster - certainly no liberal rag. But Zogby was one of the few pollsters to virtually predict the outcome in 2000 and Zogby is one of the few polls releasing publicly gender data with their state polls. Plus, Zogby's percentage of Democrats (39%), Republicans (35%), and Independents (26%) in its samples is consistent with the last two elections.

Here's the Zogby data by state. Everywhere Kerry is leading in the battleground states - it is with the women, young people, and Independents breaking his way. Everywhere Bush is leading, it is with men and Independents breaking with him. The gender gap in every key state is the decisive difference.

So beware of nationwide polls - look principally at statewide battleground polls - and watch the gender gap. Maybe finally with the race coming down to the wire both candidates will talk to women and women's issues. There are more of us - and remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said: "It's up to the women."


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