Voices of 2020

Voices of 2020: Presidential Candidates Target Votes of Suburban Women

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

In this year’s presidential election, there are plenty of factors that political pundits are looking as they read the tea leaves, but the one voting block that is quite possibly being watched closely than any other is suburban women.  

That demographic is considered key to securing victory in the presidential election, and both candidates are making that very clear in the run-up to the election. Just last week at a rally in Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump put things very bluntly.

“Suburban women, will you please like me?,” he said. “I saved your damn neighborhood. Okay.”  

But it is not just the Republicans, suburban women are critical for both parties.  

Sarah Miyata and Katie Handler are suburban Chicago mothers. They work in the health care industry, and they also have diverse political views.

 “I think we have a good plan in place right now,” Handler said.

“I really believe the Constitution is on the ballot,” Miyata countered.   

In 2016, 47% of white women supported Trump, compared to 45% for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Miyata was exposed to political activism at an early age and is passionate about the upcoming election.  

“People are just tired of this constant anger,” she said.

As the experts study the data closely, it’s suburban women – and many who are stressed out by the pandemic – who will decide this election. 

“It’s a stresser on all people,” Handler said. “I definitely think all of the American people need to work on that it doesn’t matter what side we’re on, yes there needs to be better unity.”

At the same time, when it comes to unity post-election, Miyata is skeptical about the possibility of Americans on both sides of the political aisle to come together.

“It’s hard to imagine right?,” she asked. “In this political climate, there’s so much divisiveness.”  

Miyata says that there may not be a candidate like former President Barack Obama, saying that he had a “message of hope” that resonated with voters.   

Also resonating with some voters – after the looting and civil unrest of recent months – is the issue of whether voters are safe in their own neighborhood.

“We  see what’s happening in the big cities, we see what’s happening in Chicago, Milwaukee, Seattle,” Handler said. “Do we want that coming out to the suburbs? As a suburban mom, I don’t want that coming out to the suburbs.”

But law and order is not a major issue for others.  

“I live among many people of different races, different religions,” Miyata said. “I just don’t hear that people feel unsafe, at least where I live.” 

In every presidential election since 1964, more women than men have turned out to vote.  When it comes to the polls, after the surprising results in 2016, there are skeptics the polls this year are accurate.  

“A lot of people are scared to show who they do support and it’s because of backlash,” Handler said.

Suburban women have diverse views on so many issues – whether it’s the economy, the Supreme Court or public education, and that variety of views on a variety of issues could prove decisive in determining how suburban women fall in terms of voting in this election.

“Make yourself aware of what’s happening, cause this is your only opportunity to share your voice and let it be heard,” Miyata said.

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