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For Women, It's All Work, All The Time

Addressing a union conference in Chicago Saturday, Al Gore found himself in front of one of the largest and most influential voting blocks of this year's election: working women. CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan reports their message to him was: they are tired.

Studies suggest they have reason to be. While candidates scramble to take credit for a booming economy, many women are living hard lives and are looking to elected leaders for relief.

A poll conducted this week by the AFL-CIO showed 67 percent of working mothers put in at least 40 hours a week. More than one quarter are working nights and weekends and nearly half barely see their significant other because they work opposite shifts.

Stephanie Lobdell starts her day at 7:30 in the morning and finishes work as a waitress at three the next morning.

Her 6-year-old daughter is taken care of in shifts: a babysitter in the afternoon, and a grandmother at night.

Like millions of other working women she has no health insurance, no pension plan, and not a lot of hope.

"I don't really see myself going anywhere," Lobdell said.

She tells CBS News she hasn't heard enough from either candidate.

"For a presidential candidate to get my vote, I'd like to hear more about health care, child care and equal pay in the work place for women."

This fall, the working women doing battle every day to survive are likely to find themselves on the battle field again, between two candidates trying to win them over.

These are the same issues women have had for more than 20 years and have been aggressive about voicing at the ballot box.

The women's vote was decisive in the last two presidential campaigns and pollsters warn neither side should taken them for granted.

"When we get to the fall campaign, we've seen for twenty years a gender gap," said CBS News Polling Director Kathy Frankovic.

"It's not overwhelming, it's not necessarily overpowering, but it's been on the order of a six to ten point difference."

In the past, that difference has favored Democrats. So far, Al Gore is doing well among women voters in the primaries, but so is George W. Bush.