Moms Matter 2012

The Issues

CafeMom surveyed moms across the country* and here's what we learned...
  • INTRODUCTION

    They just DON'T get it.  They're not listening to me. There's nothing I can do.

    This is the disquieting and pervasive sentiment among moms across America. They are not happy with where the country stands and even less enamored with the people who got us there. You name the culprit - President Obama, Republicans in Congress, Washington bureaucrats, Wall Street - none of them escape blame.

    Moms feel less financially secure and increasingly worried about their children's future - more than the average voter and more than ever before. Add to this an emotional disconnect between Washington, Wall Street and the American Mom, and it's a consistently concerning combination. Ultimately, moms are tired of being ignored and ready to be heard.

    Washington, are you listening?

    Moms

    Key

  • KEY
    FINDINGS

    Moms are less concerned about family values issues than they are with their desire that the world around them start valuing families. This is a crucial distinction. Moms want candidates to:

    Show me you understand families like mine and what we are living through every day.

    For politicians to successfully mobilize one of the biggest potential blocks of voters, their challenge is to appeal to the emotional core of moms' biggest concerns. And that requires refocusing the message away from partisan politics and back to the center of American life: the family.

    Moms

    The Outlook

  • THE
    OUTLOOK

    The outlook is grim.
    Over half of our nations moms believe America’s best days are BEHIND us.

    This is as bleak an outlook as has ever been seen among any demographic group - let alone one as big (and critical) as American moms. Traditionally, Americans have been enduringly optimistic about our ability to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. Not anymore.

    The very idea of the American Dream has sustained a huge hit. Asked about the American Dream, half of moms believe it is dying or dead (41% say "dying," 8% say it is "dead" altogether).

    49% of moms believe the

    Mothers, like the rest of the country, are increasingly skeptical about our leaders' ability - and willingness - to listen and get things done anymore. They are looking for someone to lend voice to this disgruntled voting demographic.

    It is moms' changing role that causes them to really feel the pinch.

    Moms aren't just parents and home-makers; they have become breadwinners and financial planners as well. The issue that keeps them up MOST at night is "my savings/financial situation" (36%) even more than "my kids' well-being and their future opportunities." Think about that. Of course it is a statement on the toughness of the economy. But more deeply, it reflects the reality that their family's financial situation is overwhelmingly LESS secure (53%) versus more secure (23%) than it was a year ago - and the practical realities are biting.

    77% of moms say their family's personal financial situation has stayed the same or become less secure in the past 3 years.
    Although there is pessimism TODAY, children provide hope for tomorrow.

    Overwhelmingly, moms' worries are dominated by two very practical day-to-day economic considerations: paying the mortgage or rent on their home (55%) and spending on groceries (36%) ... followed by one very long-term concern:college tuition for their children (31%).

    graph

    For a population that is normally focused on the future, an overwhelming 71% of moms may believe our short-term challenges matter more this election than our long-term ones, but when they think about their kids, they're still looking ahead to a brighter tomorrow. It may be too late for America, but they haven't given up on their kids.

    71% of moms believe our short-term challenges matter more this election than long term ones

    It may be too late for America, but they haven't given up on their kids.

    Policy

  • THE
    POLICY PRIORITIES

    Moms are worried about the here and now.

    This isn't to say that long-term challenges and the future should be completely disregarded, but the pressing short-term challenges, like simply putting food on the table - require the most immediate attention.

    It is (still) the economy, stupid.

    Issues related to the practical, economic needs of the family blew all the other options away in terms of what moms want to hear the 2012 candidates address:

    By comparison, neighborhood safety and crime reduction, family values, and even education have taken the backburner. Yes, it's the economy, stupid ... and how it affects their kitchen table.

    Millionaires take the hit.

    If given a choice between increasing taxes on all Americans, increasing taxes on millionaires, and only cutting government spending as a means to reduce the deficit, millionaires lose out among moms. And don't even think about suggesting increasing taxes on all hardworking Americans.

    Obama's healthcare plan will increase costs and decrease quality.

    The healthcare takeover is an ongoing controversy. That is no secret. But on both measures of success - cost and quality - moms aren't buying it. When asked, 44% of moms thought costs would increase over the next 5 years and only 23% thought they would decrease. As far as quality, 43% thought quality and options would decrease and only 23% thought quality would increase. This may not be the reality, but it's their perception - and that's all that matters.

    Politics

  • THE
    POLITICS

    Obama may beat Republicans
    - but Hillary is the choice of the American mom.

    While President Obama seemingly beats every potential Republican candidate, if Hillary Clinton were a candidate in the next election, she would get the vote of an incredible 58% of moms ... crushing Obama's 42%.

    This isn't a vote based on gender; Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann perform dismally among the same group.

    It is even more telling that over half (59%) believe the average American mom could do a better job as President than President Obama himself.

    The best political party is NO political party.

    Consider the surprising fact that just over half (52%) of moms would join a group called "No Party Labels, Just Moms" before they would join the equivalent Republican or Democratic group. The anti-partisan mood runs deeper among moms than almost any other group.

    The language of empowerment is particularly popular among moms:

    The New Radicals: moms may think they're getting more conservative ... but they empathize with 'Occupy Wall Street'.

    Interestingly, over a third (34%) of moms reported an overall conservative change in their perspective. At the same time, virtually half (48%) agreed that corporations and government serve the richest 1% of the population and not 'the 99%' who struggle to pay their bills. Moms want to hear less about partisan bickering ... and a whole lot more about fairness, respect and equality; valued attributes to many moms.

    Disconnect

  • THE
    DISCONNECT

    Moms are aching for their voice
    to be taken seriously politically...

    Only 28% of moms agree with the statement "I believe that my voice as a MOM will be heard" in the next presidential election. Over half (57%) would definitely or probably get involved in a "Mom's Voice" initiative.

    In addition, 59% of moms truly believe the presidential election will make a difference to their family's situation.

    Bottom line? This election matters to a majority of Moms, and if asked, they'll roll up their sleeves and get involved.

    ... And they do not believe
    that Washington is delivering for them.

    Any pollster will tell you that Congress' approval ratings are limbo low among the populace at large ... and moms couldn't agree more:

    Just 12% of moms believe Washington does "well" in paying attention to the average mom's concerns. A whopping 64% believe it does "poorly."

    When it comes to trusting elected officials to focus on the right things to improve life for families like theirs, just 15% trust them overall, and 68% distrust them.

    As far as trusting elected officials to make the right decisions, 16% trust them overall, and 69% distrust them.

    There's no other way to interpret this data - Washington, and the people who occupy it, have zero credibility. In fact, if it originates in the conference rooms of Washington, it will land with a thud in the living rooms of America.

    You have to relate to moms on a personal level.

    Empathizing with them personally and relating to their everyday struggles in an authentic way will be critical to any campaign. Moms want a candidate who has their priorities straight:

    Message

  • A MESSAGE FROM THE MOMS OF AMERICA

    It is time for us as a country to refocus on what really matters to American families: The mortgage, groceries, bills, college tuition ... our costs keep going up, but our family income doesn't. Over the past year or so, we have had to perform miracles with the family finances.

    moms

    When Washington starts to tighten its belt in the way that we, America's moms, have had to - the country will start to get somewhere. Nobody understands the importance of co-operation, teamwork and responsibility more than moms do. And that is why our voice must be heard in this election, louder than ever.

* In October 2011, CafeMom conducted a national online survey of 1,750 moms with a child under 18 years old in the household. Global Marketing Research Services programmed and fielded the study, and validated the weighting of the responses by age, race, region of residence, and income. The survey included approximately 75 questions regarding moms? personal circumstances, overall attitudes and feelings related to election issues, and demographics. The study has a margin of error +/- 2.3%.

For more information on these survey results or to schedule an interview, please contact Kristina Tipton (ktipton@cafemom.com).

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