By Maeve Reston
Los Angeles Times.
It has been nearly a month since the Supreme Court handed down its Hobby Lobby decision, yet the issue has remained at the top of the political news now for weeks — a key facet in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate.
To explain that, look no further than the research by the Voter Participation Center into the voting trends for single women in midterm elections.
Though single women make up a growing share of the electorate — nearly 4.2 million became eligible to cast ballots since 2008 — they turn out in far lower numbers in midterm elections than presidential contests.
The dropoff in their share of the electorate between 2008 and 2010 was significant.
In 2010, some 22 million fewer unmarried women voted than in 2008, according to a study by the Voter Participation Center and Lake Research Partners; 10 million fewer married women voted.
Facing the very real possibility of losing the Senate, Democratic operatives are doing everything they can to reverse that trend between now and November.
That is why voters in Colorado, Montana and Michigan have seen a flurry of ads focused on abortion and contraceptive coverage from the campaigns and outside groups like the Senate Majority PAC, which is focused on maintaining Democrats’ control of the Senate.
Meanwhile, Democratic candidates are trying to keep their Republican opponents on defense about the Hobby Lobby decision, which gave some for-profit corporations the right to claim a religious exemption to the new healthcare law’s requirement of contraception coverage.
In some cases Republicans have aggressively countered the attacks on their records on women’s issues, producing their own female-focused ads.
In Colorado, for example, two of Democratic Sen. Mark Udall’s first three ads centered on his opponent’s opposition to abortion and past support for a Colorado initiative that would have changed the state’s constitution to protect a person’s rights from the point of conception.