Walmart Moms: Feeling The Economic Stress & Carrying The “Mother Load.”

By Neil Newhouse & Alex Bratty

Last week we gave you a brief overview of Walmart Moms and why they are the quintessential swing voter this November. In this posting, we dig a little deeper into our national survey results* to profile the economic and personal stress these women are carrying with them daily…and potentially into the voting booth this November.

More than six-in-ten (61{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) Walmart moms say they have been personally affected by the downturn in the economy, a significantly higher proportion than the 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of all registered women voters who say they have been affected.  And, when asked about what they may be doing to pinch pennies on the home front, two-thirds (66{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) say they are doing seven or more of eleven items** tested.

In fact, such is the level of economic stress these women are dealing with at home that 42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of them say the effect of the downturn in the economy has placed a strain on their relationship with their spouse or significant other.

And, the stress isn’t all economic – the Walmart Mom is literally carrying the “mother load.”  Other than making financial decisions and deciding where to take a vacation, Walmart Moms take the lead on or do most household chores themselves.

Representing roughly 16{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of the electorate, Walmart Moms matter.  The economic and personal stress these women feel appears to be impacting their political views.  They approve of the job the president is doing (53{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) but oppose his health care reform (52{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}), telling us by almost a two-to-one margin they view the new health plan as making things worse (42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) for their family, rather than better (22{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}).

These Walmart Moms are cross-pressured and conflicted.  In this survey they personalize the nation’s economic struggles and they remind us that while they may be more likely to self-identify as Democrats (43{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) than Republicans (39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}), they could easily pull the lever for the Republican candidate (40{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) over the Democratic candidate (37{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) in the fall. Candidates who want to win the Walmart Mom vote in November need to understand the personal and financial strains these women deal with every day and communicate how they, as elected officials, are going to help improve these women’s lives.

*National online survey conducted, in partnership with Momentum Analysis, May 20-27, 2010 among N=1,250 registered women voters, of whom N=380 are Walmart Moms. Review the complete survey results and analysis.
**Eleven items tested: Spending less on clothing/accessories; buying fewer gifts; spending less on entertainment; eating out less frequently; traveling less; making fewer/smaller donations; putting off major repairs to home/car; putting off medical visits/procedures; using credit cards more often; considering downsizing home; using public transportation more.



Public Opinion Strategies