Iowa Women Turn The Tide

Women played interesting roles in last night's Iowa caucuses:

* Younger Democratic women deserted Sen. Hillary Clinton.

* Republican women at some caucuses opened with a prayer, then voted in large percentages for the preacher Mike Huckabee.

From CNN:

Hillary Clinton has largely courted female voters as she battles to become the first woman president. But in what is bad news for Clinton, exit polling shows [Sen. Barack] Obama beat the New York senator 35 percent to 30 percent among women caucusgoers. Clinton only won among women in the [60-and-older] demographic. Forty-three percent of those women voters went for Clinton, compared to 26 percent for [John] Edwards and 19 percent for Obama. But the Illinois Democrat won among women in every other age demographic.

Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee was the big winner in Iowa's GOP caucuses Thursday thanks to big support from two groups of voters: women and evangelical Christians. Mike Huckabee appears to have benefited from a strong turnout by evangelical Christian voters.... Huckabee also overwhelmingly won the female vote, picking up support from about 40 percent of women compared to only 24 percent for [Mitt] Romney.

At this point I'd like to refer back to two pronouncements I've made in prior posts, one of which was dead on and the other partially right.

First, I maintained early on that the mainstream media proclamation of Clinton as the presumed heiress to the Democratic nomination was premature. Obama's victory in Iowa last night certainly proved that point, although I would not now do a 180-degree turn and presume that Iowa crowned Obama instead. Iowa is clearly a setback for Clinton, but it's hardly a political funeral.

Re Iowa's overblown importance, I continue to maintain that's true. Look, for example, at the fact that neither Ronald Reagan nor George H. W. Bush won there. And Howard Dean did. However, I neglected to mention its importance (in terms of national impact) in one way. Iowa, being first, serves to eliminate candidates who never had much of a chance to begin with: to wit, Sens. Joseph Biden and Christopher Dodd.

By Bonnie Erbe