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For weeks I’ve been trying to untangle the confusion I have about women voters and why they are not more supportive of Hillary. If they voted for her in the same percentage that black voters are lining up behind Obama, this contest would be over: “Hello Madam President!”

But it’s not over. The latest numbers from Texas by the American Research Group show that about 80% of blacks are expected to support Obama, who would be the first black president. Only 53% of women are expected to support Hillary.

Why the disparity between blacks and women?

The reasons might be more complicated than we think. My first guess is that women in general feel much less connected by their gender than blacks do by their race. Women might feel they have, indeed, “come a long way” and no longer feel the need to assert their political clout by electing a woman president. In other words, they now feel part of the political mainstream and have a wide array of issues on their minds, not just feminist issues. It is not just about being a woman anymore.

There’s another explanation.

According to Maureen Dowd, writing in the New York Times, woman are supporting Obama because he is more representative of the “new woman” than Hillary. He presents a softer, more conversational style — an approach more suited to women today. Hillary, says Dowd, plays by the boys’ rules. She grew up believing that for a woman to succeed, she needed to learn how to beat the boys at their own game.

But the rules have changed, according to Dowd:

“. . .When historians trace how her inevitability dissolved, they will surely note this paradox: The first serious female candidate for president was rejected by voters drawn to the more feminine management style of her male rival.

Hillary was so busy trying to prove she could be one of the boys — getting on the Armed Services Committee, voting to let W. go to war in Iraq, strong-arming supporters and donors, and trying to out-macho Obama — that she only belatedly realized that many Democratic and independent voters, especially women, were eager to move from hard-power locker-room tactics to a soft-power sewing circle approach. Less towel-snapping and more towel color coordinating, less steroids and more sensitivity.”

You can find the rest of her opinion piece here: “¿Quién Es Less Macho?”

Obviously, as a male, I am not likely the best person to take up this issue, or suggest a good explanation. I would like to hear from women. Is Dowd right? What is going on with women voters?

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