What’s the matter with Arizona fathers?


Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

I posed a question on social media today about whether Arizonans really care as much about education as they say they do, given how the state keeps electing people who are basically out to dismantle the public education system. My guess was that a lot of people tell pollsters they support the schools and think they are important because they think they are supposed to say that but really don’t give the schools in this state much thought because they don’t have any K-12 or college students in their households. That led me to nerd out on some exit polls, which lead me to discover something quite shocking, though not entirely unexpected. I used the Senate race in 2012 because I think it’s a slightly better proxy for statewide voting patterns than the Presidential. (Edited to add link.)

parental voting chart

Married parents voting Republican isn’t surprising since they demographically skew that way (though y’all nice white parents can kindly knock off the whining about the schools you keep voting to defund any minute now). What’s really striking is the next chart over*, where the 35% of voters with children 18 and under were considered. The disparity between mothers and fathers is a staggering 60 points! In other words, the moms get it and the dads are too busy, what, fondling their guns to pay any attention to what is being done to their children in this state? I just don’t even. Get it together, dads. In the meantime, it looks like fathers have a slightly higher participation rate than mothers. I guarantee that is a sign we’re not getting enough single moms to the polls.

*It does appear at first glance that I need to have a talk with my fellow ladies who are not currently engaged in child raising about their voting too but my guess on that is that the “women with no children” sample includes a large number of older white women. Which is, of course, another bright neon sign indicating that Democrats need to get more single women to the polls in general.


  1. While I agree that the effect of a red vote (in the 2012 election of Arizona officials, which this is not) is to tear down public education, while a blue vote is to support it, I don’t think that those voting red see that at all. If you listened to Huppenthal talk about what he had done for public ed by 2012 and what his vision was, which was consistent with the corporate reform movement that has captured so many people including Obama, then it would be easy to sincerely believe that Republicans are taking public ed in Arizona in the right direction. More choice and higher standards are a good thing, right? I think to the extent that fathers believe their votes have any effect on public ed, they don’t see it as a vote to defund, but a vote for higher standards and better schools.

    I agree that getting out the vote is critical. But in addition, I hope that the cracks we are starting to see in the Republican-Democratic corporate reform alliance, representing the rejection of the naked assumption that more reliance on high stakes standardized tests means better educational outcomes, will give parents some pause to look more critically at the state of public ed in Arizona. If these parents listen to David Garcia, I doubt they would perceive a wild-eyed liberal who wants to turn public ed over to self-centered unionized teachers.

  2. If the blue does represent a percentage of the vote for Democrats, I’m surprised that you don’t comment on the most anomalous part of this data — that in the childless category, men are voting Democratic at what seems like a substantial (above the margin of error?) percentage higher than women. I’ve never seen any category of voters today in which men are voting Democratic at higher rate than women. If this is true of this election, I don’t know what would account for it. Again, here it would be helpful to know what the yellow represents.

  3. The charts aren’t labeled. Are we supposed to assume that the blue are people who voted Democratic and the red are people who voted Republican? Even if you think it is obvious, for clarity’s sake, it should have been labeled.

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