Sunday, April 20, 2008
For women voters in Pa., a shifting landscape
Go to Philadelphia Inquirer original
Stella Ryan is a 53-year-old, married mother of four from Doylestown with a perfect Republican voting record.
On Tuesday, she will vote for Barack Obama.
Ryan said she was influenced by her 22-year-old son and switched parties minutes after hearing Obama's speech on race last month.
"That's when I felt, he's genuine," Ryan said.
Jamira Burley is a 19-year-old, African American college freshman from a big family in West Philadelphia. Five of her brothers are backing Obama.
Her vote: Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"A lot of my friends and family say I'm going against my race," Burley said. "But the election now is bigger than that. It's all about policies and issues."
In the Democratic primary, women voters, who are expected to turn out in stronger numbers than men, might prove to be far less predictable than they have been in other races.
Allegiances are shifting, and affiliations based on gender and race are weakening, according to interviews in the last week with more than 40 local women voters.
A significant percentage of women still have not made up their minds. In a poll conducted April 2-7 for the Lifetime cable-television network, only 53 percent of Pennsylvania women voters said they had definitely decided whom they would support.
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