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Survey: Abortion, health care most important issues for WOW county women

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(The Center Square) – College educated women voters in the Milwaukee suburbs generally care about taxes, crime and gun control, but a new survey shows they care about abortion and health care the most.

The Institute for Reforming Government held 40 different listening sessions about the issues facing voters. IRG followed that up with a survey of 315 college educated women in “In the WOW area we’re in the middle of a seismic shift in voting behavior in the last decade,” IRG CEO CJ Szafir told The Center Square.

The survey tracks how the WOW counties have become far less Republican since 2010 and offers some insight into why.

“We’ve talked to people who voted for Gov. Scott Walker in the recall in 2012, who now just went ahead 10-years later, and voted for liberal candidates in the last two elections that ran on overturning things that Gov. Scott Walker did,” Czafir said.

The survey said 20% of WOW county women say abortion is their single most important issue. That’s twice as many women than those who say health care is their top issue, three times as many women who say crime is their top issue, and 20 times more than those who say LGBTQ issues are their top issue.

Szafir said that’s not surprising. But he said the actual answers IRG got from the women voters were telling.

“The one thing that we heard, time and time again in the focus groups, was that they wanted something that was ‘reasonable’ for abortion,” Szafir added. “What does that mean? They couldn’t really answer. But it was something that’s more reasonable than the status quo”

Szafir said, however, there is some hope for Republicans and conservatives in landing more votes from WOW county women.

“There is some opportunity for conservatives, because some of [the other issues] taxes, the budget and crime should be the bread and butter issues that conservatives have been talking about,” Szafir added.

The survey showed Republicans have an 11-point advantage with WOW county women when it comes to the state budget, and a point advantage among with WOW county women when it comes to taxes. The survey shows that Democrats have a 2%, advantage when it comes to crime.

IRG’s listening sessions were held in person July 18 and 19 and were led by a professionally trained moderator. Those were followed up by an online survey of 315 college-educated women in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties as well as Cudahy, Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Oak Creek, St. Francis, South Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, and West Allis.

You can read the entire survey here.

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