It has not been much discussed but as the summer has worn on the public polling in the US Senate race has indicated clearly that Patrick Murphy does better among females not only head-to-head with Alan Grayson in a hypothetical Democratic Primary but also when matched up against Republicans in a General Election.
I will admit this is a subject that is not pleasant to talk about and I have avoided all summer as public poll after public poll has shown similar numbers. Congressman Alan Grayson has been a strong liberal voice on so many critical issues, including those that impact women’s health and working families. But for some reason polling beginning with the St Pete Polls survey two months ago have shown Grayson’s weakness among women within the Democratic field. The PPP poll shows Grayson polls worse with women than Murphy when matched up against any likely GOP nominee. In some cases Grayson actually does better among males than females against a hypothetical GOP opponent. Obviously that can be viewed both positively and negatively depending on your perspective.
It is now becoming more likely that Murphy will run stronger with women in the primary than Grayson. That does not really matter to Democrats unless you are partial to one of the candidates. The question though that must be contemplated if these numbers continue to be a problem is whether or not the gender gap we are accustomed to seeing in competitive races between Republicans and Democrats is not as wide if Grayson is the party’s nominee. I am hopeful we don’t get to the point where it’s an issue, but it is something that should be discussed now in the event that it is.
Last week we did a completely unscientific survey on this site of our readers and asked who they preferred in the US Senate race. Alan Grayson still came out ahead with 48%, Pam Keith (whose campaign I work with) had close to 27% and Murphy with 21%. So activists who make up the bulk of our readers at TFS remain committed to Grayson at least based on the unscientific survey we placed on the site. Many like Keith who has branched out across the state to activist gatherings and has been well received. Fewer like Murphy, but he remains the party establishment’s pick and from where I sit he’s still the most likely Democratic nominee at this moment in time though we are still over eleven months from the primary.
Grayson remains an attractive option for most activists. But the question now is whether or not his style had hurt his standing with female voters who are critical to success for the Democrats next year? If enough activists determine that it is, Murphy could benefit long before the primary.