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 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:
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.
The outlook is grim.
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).
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.
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%).
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.
It may be too late for America, but they haven't given up on their kids.
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
* 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).