Phyllis Schlafly's Remarks over "Unmarried Women" Draw Fire

At age 85, Phyllis Schafly is still kicking and now drawing fire for remarks made at a fundraiser for Andrew “Rocky” Raczkowski, a conservative vying in a four-way GOP primary in Michigan's Ninth Congressional District.

"Unmarried women, 70% of unmarried women, voted for Obama, and this is because when you kick your husband out, you've got to have big brother government to be your provider," said Schlafly, president of the ultra right wing Eagle Forum and doyenne of the American conservative movement. She went to accuse the Obama administration of trying to win support by providing government relief to various groups, such as unmarried women.

On Thursday, in an interview with Talking Points Memo, Schlafly repeated her link of single women, Obama and welfare, and added "Yes, I said that. It's true too. All welfare goes to unmarried moms. They are trying to line up their constituency for Obama and Democrats against Republican candidates."

Schlafly went on to tell TPM's Christina Bellantoni that she doesn't care if Republicans are targeted over her comments since she thinks they are truthful.

Well, Schlafly is correct that 70 percent of single women did vote for the Democratic ticket but that demographic has been trending Democratic for some time now. In 2004, 62 percent of single women supported Democrat John Kerry, while 37 percent voted to re-elect President Bush. Clinton, in contrast, only received 53 percent of the single women vote in 1992.

According to the most recent Census data, 22 percent of the voting-age public are never-married women and as voting bloc, never-married women have been gaining in clout. Once deemed to be a politically inconsequential voting block—marriage has always been a top social factor that controls voting—single women are slowly starting to become an important voting block. In the 2000 general election, the number of unmarried women voting was 19 percent with that number jumping to 22.4 percent in 2004. In 2008, single women represented 24 percent of the electorate and according to Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner 70 percent of unmarried women with and without children did support Obama.

The share of unmarried voters, male and female, in 2008 was 34 percent down from 37 percent in 2004. In 2008, married voters went for McCain by 5 and unmarried voters for Obama by 32 - a difference of 37 points but this is largely a factor that Obama carried 66 percent of the 29 and under age demographic.

And while three in four families on welfare are headed by unmarried women, the number of families on welfare had been falling steadily since peaking in 1995. Nine months into the Great Recession, the number of American families receiving cash assistance stood at just 1.6 million in September 2008, the most recent date for which national tallies are available. Furthermore the New York Times reported that amidst soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis in decades, 18 states cut their welfare rolls in 2008, and nationally the number of people receiving cash assistance remained at or near the lowest in more than 40 years. While welfare rolls rose in 2009 for the first time in 15 years, the 5 percent increase was dwarfed by spikes in the number of people receiving food stamps and unemployment insurance.

The cash-assistance program that once helped more than 14 million people served an average of 4 million in the 2009 fiscal year, up from 3.8 million in fiscal 2008. By comparison, there were more than 37 million people receiving food stamps in September, an increase of 18 percent from the year before. The number receiving unemployment benefits more than doubled, to about 9.1 million. To suggest that unmarried women voted for Obama because they were looking to go on welfare is beyond the pale and speaks to the vile callousness of Phyllis Schlafly.

Meanwhile the Democrats are jumping on Schlafly's remarks targeting GOP candidates endorsed by her Eagle Forum. From TPM:

Democrats plan to jump on the 75 Republican candidates for federal office that Schlafly's Eagle Forum has endorsed and donated to -- a list that includes Todd Tiahrt in the Kansas Republican primary for Senate, Ken Buck in the Colorado Republican primary for Senate, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and his Senate Conservatives Fund and Sen. David Vitter. Already, reporters in Vitter's home state of Louisiana are getting releases from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pressing them to ask Vitter if he agrees with Schlafly. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is doing the same thing to Eagle Forum-endorsed House candidates, painting Republicans on dozens of ballots -- including Rep. Michele Bachmann and Scott Rigell in the competitive VA-02 race -- as "extreme" and saying the candidate should refuse Schlafly's endorsement.

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