Walmart Moms: Up For Grabs Again in 2010

By Neil Newhouse & Alex Bratty

Public Opinion Strategies first identified Walmart Moms as a swing voter group in the 2008 election cycle, and several folks have asked us recently if this group will once again emerge as a key voting bloc in November. One of the sources of this inquiry was – not surprisingly cenaless emagrecedorWalmart, itself.

So, to answer the question, we teamed up with Democratic pollster, Margie Omero of Momentum Analysis, to conduct a national survey* of registered women voters and the sub-group of Walmart Moms on behalf of the large retailer.  The results were released this week and are fascinating.  The data confirm that Walmart Moms – defined as women voters who have made a purchase at Walmart in the last month and have children at home under the age of 18 – are indeed “up-for-grabs” again this year.

What makes these voters so interesting is that on the surface they profile as a Democrat-leaning group:

  • They chose Barack Obama (46{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) over John McCain (39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) in 2008.
  • A majority (53{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president (while his average approval rating has been consistently below 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} since December 2009 in national polls of all Americans).
  • They are more likely to self-identify as Democrats (43{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) than Republicans (39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}).
  • By a margin of 60{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} to 40{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} they believe government should do more to solve problems and help meet the needs of people rather than the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.

However, despite these preferences and attitudes, Walmart Moms tilt towards voting for a Republican candidate for Congress (40{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) this November over a Democratic candidate (37{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}).

Some explanation for this classic swing voter behavior may be found in the following results:

  • Walmart Moms are not impressed with President Obama’s new health care plan – just 38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} support the plan compared to 52{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} who oppose it (31{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of whom oppose it “strongly”);
  • They are clearly dissatisfied with the job Congress is doing (39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve, 61{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove); and,
  • They are really feeling the economic squeeze – fully two-thirds (66{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) say they are dissatisfied with their own financial situation, and of eight economic items** tested, almost half (47{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) say six or more of them are top concerns for their household.

And, make no mistake – this group matters. Thirty percent (30{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) of all registered women voters are Walmart Moms, which translates to roughly 16{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of the entire electorate. That’s a significant number of votes that could mean the difference between a winning or losing campaign. Candidates running for office this November ignore this key voting bloc at their own peril.

*National online survey conducted 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.

 **Eight items tested: The cost of energy, the cost of groceries/essentials, the cost of health care, not having enough retirement savings, their mortgage/rent, losing their job, having too much credit card debt, and the changing value of investments.


Public Opinion Strategies