The Female Factor: Women at the polls and the midterm election

- Pop star Taylor Swift turned political, sharing a long message on her Instagram page after years of silence, giving a resounding statement of support for two Tennessee Democrats and urging her 112 million followers to get out and vote.

The website Voter.org said they saw a big increase in voter registration in the 48 hours after Swift's post Sunday, with 183,000 people under the age of 30 registering online as of Tuesday night. 

In her post, Swift said "In the past, I've been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now."

Swift said the female Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn's voting record "appalls and terrifies me" citing issues such as equal pay for women, domestic violence and LGBTQ rights. 

President Trump dismissed Swift's comment saying Swift didn't know Blackburn and adding, "Let's say I like Taylor's music about 25% less now." 

A new CNN-SSRS poll taken October 4-7 shows President Trump with a 41% approval rating. That number was reflected in the responses of the 1,009 likely voters polled, as 41% said they'll likely vote for a Republican, 54% said they'll likely vote for a Democrat in the November 6th elections.

The poll also shows a big gender gap. Nearly two-thirds of women  (63%) favored a Democrat compared to 33% who favored a Republican.

The poll showed 50% of men favored Republicans, 45% favored Democrats.

At a "Women calling Women" phone bank held every Tuesday night in San Francisco's Democratic headquarters on Market Street, the phone stations were full.

Bianca Navarro, a 19-year-old volunteer said she had registered to vote Tuesday for the first time and was texting the online link to her friends and family.

"In our generation, my age at least, a lot of people are like, my vote doesn't matter it won't affect anything. But the truth is if everyone thinks like that, no one is going to be heard," said Navarro.

Many said they were energized by the controversy of the past month over sexual assault allegations against now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Susan Pfeifer, the Red to Blue Campaign San Francisco co-manager pointed to a phrase coined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, whose picture was inserted in a Rosie the Riveter poster.

"Don't agonize, organize. And that's what we're doing. Women are coming in here anxious, angry, frustrated. And we're saying get on the phones and call voters and get them to vote for candidates, for Democrats," said Pfeifer.

The CNN-SSRS poll also asked voters who would do a better job of dealing with sexual misconduct, with 51% saying Democrats and 30% saying Republicans. 

Nicole Garay, 21, is Vice-Chair of San Francisco's Republican Party and says she is seeing enthusiasm among Republican women following the Supreme Court battle.

Garay says she has received calls over the phone from Republican women who want to volunteer and tell her, "I'm a woman I want to be a Republican. I don't like the way the Democratic women are acting, I don't like how they're screaming about and losing their mind over what's going on when there's no substantial evidence."

Efforts are underway to get people to the polls, as early voting opened in some areas such as San Francisco Tuesday. Poll workers stood ready as people came in to cast their votes. Arntz says voter guides and vote-by-mail ballots have already been sent out to voters. 

"We've already mailed those ballots they dropped at the polling places. They should be in people's mailboxes starting today actually," said John Arntz, San Francisco's Director of Elections.

Arntz says anyone who does not receive their ballot or book should contact the San Francisco Department of Elections. 
 

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