Romney's Housewives Revisited

Throughout the 2008 election cycle, I poked fun at Mitt Romney fundraising prowess among women who listed their occupation as "homemaker." (At least as early as mid-2006; see: "Housewives desperate for Mitt".)

The one you might want to glance at, in light of the current overwrought flap, is from May 2007, in which I combed through Romney's massive $20 million-plus first-quarter fundraising haul. The key takeaways were, first:

 More than $2.5 million of his donations — 12 percent of his total — came from donors who identified themselves as “homemakers,”

most of whom were easily identifiable as wives of donors; and second:

Roughly 7100 individuals gave between $1800 and the $2300 maximum allowed by law, accounting for about two-thirds of Romney’s $20 million total.... Just 426... are women who work for someone other than themselves, their husbands, or Romney.

Truth is, the two primary Romney cultural touchstones -- well-off American Mormon society, and upper-class financial-management society -- are both very, very strongly oriented toward a working husband and stay-at-home wife. That's not a value judgment, it's an observation readily admitted to and openly discussed by people I speak to in both of those worlds.

Given that, Romney in practice (at Bain, as governor, as a candidate) has been remarkably open-minded about the role of professional women. And, while I don't have the equivalent data handy right now, it has seemed to me that Romney has drawn more contributions from professional women this time around (although still a very small percentage of his total).

All I'm saying is that if you believe in following the money, Romney has very little connection to working women, and far more to women who -- like his wife Ann -- have left the breadwinning to the husband. 


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