It’s common to observe that unmarried women are a key part of the progressive coalition these days. And it is true that Obama carried this group by a wide 67-31 margin in 2012, not far off his 70-29 margin in 2008. Unmarried women were also a larger share of voters, 23 percent vs. 21 percent in 2008. Pretty impressive.
But is far less widely noted that unmarried men have also become a significant part of the progressive coalition. Despite the unflattering portrayals in the media of single guys as aimless yahoos, they do in fact have some definite—and progressive—politics. In the 2012 election, unmarried men favored Obama by a healthy 56-40 margin, close to the 58-38 margin they gave him in 2008. And their share of voters went up even more than unmarried women, increasing by 4 points to 18 percent.
Unmarried men’s progressive leanings are not unique to the last two elections either. As the chart below shows, these voters supported Clinton twice, as well as Gore and Kerry. The last time they supported a Republican candidate was in 1988, when they gave George H.W. Bush a modest 3 point margin over Michael Dukakis:
The country has changed a lot since then….and so have single guys. Time to rethink our stereotypes.
Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at both The Century Foundation and the Center for American Progress, where he focuses on political demography. He is the author, with John Judis, of The Emerging Democratic Majority.