Women play important role in Nov. election

With just under a month until the election ads targeting women voters are hitting the airwaves.

The most recent ones come from Gov. Scott Walker’s camp and outside group, Emily’s List, attacking the governor.

In the latest Marquette Law School poll Walker has the advantage over challenger Mary Burke. That is not the case when it comes to women voters though.

Over the last few elections, women have been the majority of voters in Wisconsin, which could explain why recent ads focus on issues largely impacting women.

“Hi, I’m Scott Walker. I’m Pro-Life,” Walker’s new ad “Decision” begins.

“Scott Walker wants to make all abortions illegal, even in cases of rape and incest,” nurse practitioner “Meg” said in the Emily’s List ad.

These ads, released Monday, refer to Wisconsin’s 2013 abortion legislation.

“But there is no doubt in my mind the decision of whether or not to end a pregnancy is an agonizing one,” Walker continues in his ad.

“Look, this is one of the toughest decisions a woman has to make. It’s not up to politicians like Scott Walker,” “Meg” said.

Political Science professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Joe Heim said abortion is not a particularly big topic in the governor’s race, but it directly affects the state’s largest voting group.

“So that particular issue is very important to some women. Now will that be a deciding factor in an election, I would say probably not, but it is still a factor for at least a substantial majority of the public out there,” Heim said.

The Oct. 1 Marquette Law Poll shows Burke has a large lead with women voters. 54 percent to 40 percent.

During a campaign stop Tuesday Walker said it’s not the ads it’s what he has done during his time in office that should win over women voters.

“We’ve improved school scores in this state, graduation rates are up, third-grade reading scores are up, ACT scores are up, the things that we’ve done I think are interesting for not only female voters, but we’ve done a lot to support women and families in this state and we’re going to keep doing that,” Walker said.

During a campaign rally for Burke in the Badger state Tuesday, first lady Michelle Obama touched on the importance of women voters.

“(If) women and minorities and young people show up Mary wins. And I know we can elect Mary Burke as the governor of Wisconsin,” Obama said.

Heim said the gap in women voters isn’t too large for Walker to overcome, but he needs to make it closer. His recent ads are trying to do that.

“I think that’s why you’re seeing ads on TV that feature women in it,” Heim said. “They are certainly mentioning for the record that he at least has some legislation that supports women and he wants women especially to know about it.”

Now it is important to note while Burke has the lead with women voters, Walker has a much larger lead in terms of male voters. He leads by 28 percent, according to the Marquette poll.

The National Rifle Association has also recently released an ad supporting Walker aimed at women. It references Walker’s stance on gun rights.

The election is scheduled for Nov. 4.