New York-based Lifetime TV and Politico.com — which has come into its own during the 2008 elections — are partnering on a web project focusing on California undecided women voters watching the debates of the last few days. Women compose 52 percent of the American electorate and, for the first time ever, a woman has an even money chance on winning the presidency.
FishbowlNY emailed Toby Graff, who heads the partnership, to find out the specifics:
”FishbowlNY: 83% of FishbowlNY voters said in a recent poll that the media’s racial-gender breakdowns of the voter demographics in the Democratic primary are excessive. What would you say to that?
”Toby Graff: We are networks for women so we naturally focus on gender breakdowns. Rather than simple breakdowns though, we are also looking for a deeper understanding — to give voice to issues that matter to women that are often overlooked in the horserace nature of political coverage. Our effort is focused on empowering and encouraging all women to register and vote (for whomever they want), consider running for elected office and speak out on issues that matter in their lives. Our polling shows that women voters want the candidates and the media to focus on issues like education, jobs & the economy, health care, and preventing violence against women.”
”FishbowlNY: Now that tonight’s debate has been narrowed down to two — a man and a woman — do you think that there is a danger that the Lifetime TV/Politico focus groups might veer (favorably) towards the woman candidate?
”Toby Graff: No. Just to clarify a couple of things: 1) we are doing two nights of focus groups. (Yesterday we had) a group of Republican-leaning undecided women voters watching the Republican presidential candidate debate. Tonight, we will have another focus group of Democratic-leaning undecided women voters watching and reacting to the Democratic presidential candidate debate. 2) Lifetime has done and will continue to do polling of women, but these are two qualitative focus groups rather than scientific polls. The focus groups are being facilitated by prominent pollsters Kellyanne Conway (on the Republican side) and Celinda Lake (on the Democratic side). Lifetime Politico want to gain additional insights into women voters, how they feel about the candidates and their positions on key issues and what will drive them to the polls (on Super Tuesday and in November). We know from our previous polls that women say they are paying closer attention to the race because of having a woman as a serious contender, but they are not automatically supporting her candidacy. Just on the Democratic side, in the recent primaries and caucuses, we have seen Senators Clinton and Obama both perform well with different demographics of women. We will have a wide range of women in different demos participating in the focus groups so we anticipate hearing a wide range of feedback.
”As an aside, Lifetime’s entire Every Woman Counts election year campaign is nonpartisan and all of our events are bipartisan. Lifetime is the #1 network for women and we reach women in 96 million households, who have many different views and backgrounds. We work very hard to make all of their voices heard.
”FishbowlNY: Politico is a rather new — but highly influential — media entity. Why did Lifetime approach Politico.com?
”Toby Graff: We are thrilled to be teaming up with Politico. In just one year, they have become a credible and reliable political news source, and now have the largest circulation of any Capitol Hill newspaper and they have become a Nielsen NetRatings ‘top 30 newspaper web site.’ We’re glad that they too have an interest in highlighting the role of women, 52 percent of the country and an influential voting bloc, in the presidential election. We also work with other media partners, such as Hearst publications Redbook, CosmoGirl and Marie Claire. All of these partnerships are critical to expand the reach of our efforts and the quality of information and resources we can provide our viewers and visitors to myLifetime.com.
”FishbowlNY: Will women voters ultimately decide this election?
”Toby Graff: There is a historic gender gap in presidential elections dating back to 1980. Based on our recent polling, as well as the turnout thus far in the primary season, it appears that women — 52 percent of the population — will play a key role again in 2008. A recent Lifetime polls showed that more than 60 percent of women regard this election as the most important in their lives and 93 percent said that they will vote in the general election.”
(image via witc)