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But the key Democratic voting bloc could be motivated by issues like equal pay, affordable childcare.

Unmarried women, a key voting bloc for Democrats, are expected to vote less in 2014 than they did in the 2012 presidential election. But a new poll shows they may be motivated to turn out in greater numbers if candidates reach out on economic issues important to women, such as equal pay for equal work and protections for pregnant workers.

“It was very surprising how many women are looking at equal pay and other economic policy issues as relevant to them,” said pollster Stan Greenberg, whose firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted the poll with the Women Voices Women Vote Action Fund and the Voter Participation Center, on a call with reporters Monday. “Women on the edge who don’t have the backup of a partner are trying to manage work life and family life – and they can be motivated to engage by Democrats on these issues.”

In the 2012 election, some two-thirds of single female voters supported President Barack Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney, and those voters made up nearly one-quarter of the total electorate.

But unmarried women have historically turned out in far fewer numbers in midterm elections and 2014 is expected to be no different. In 2010, for example, some 38 percent of unmarried women turned out to vote, compared to 60 percent in 2008.

“Stemming that kind of drop off is going to be key,” says Page Gardner, founder and president of the Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund and the Voter Participation Center.

The survey found unmarried women are already less engaged and less likely to vote in 2014 then the general population, which Greenberg and Gardner attribute to a perception that Washington isn’t addressing the issues they find important.

Here’s what unmarried women do find important, according to the poll: 95 percent support equal pay for women who do equal work, 93 percent support protections for pregnant workers against firing or demotion when they take maternity leave and 89 percent support expanding access to affordable childcare.

“The strength of the support for these policies was really revealing,” says Gardner. “I know that [unmarried women] are going to be a critical part of the electorate. The share of the electorate is going to determine by how much.”

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On Fox News today, Erick Erickson told host Lou Dobbs that liberals were being “anti-science” by celebrating the fact that America’s working mothers are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of households:

“I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology — when you look at the natural world — the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complementary role. We’re lost the ability to have complementary relationships … and it’s tearing us apart.”

Oh. My. God. Let’s treat this Ron Burgundy moment with some data.

First, there is something troubling about this statistic. The majority of female breadwinners are single moms, who face an extraordinary tension between working pay and raising children. But I didn’t hear Erickson mention the phrase “single moms.” He was talking about women earning more than men. And the fact that some married women are out-earning their husbands isn’t tragic. It’s inevitable. And it’s good.

Historically, the roles of a male and female in society have been clearly delineated. Up to the 1960s, mothers did the vast majority of housework and child-care and dads did the vast majority of paid work. But today, mostly due the rise of female education and labor participation, all three activities are much more evenly shared. In other words, contra Erickson, married couples are more “complementary” than ever.

SDT-2013-03-Modern-Parenthood-01

 Here’s the thing about this chart. This isn’t a picture of the “unnatural” world that Erickson fears. This is the natural world! If anything, the unnatural world is the one where law deprives women of the right to vote until 1920 and where we discourage women from working alongside men or doing anything besides raising kids and cooking dinner.

The fact that dual-earner households introduce new challenges for couples is a social development — one The Atlantic debates all the time. It’s perfectly reasonable to point out that dividing chores and child-work between two equal partners is a different task — and possibly more challenging — than an arrangement where the husband works all day, comes home to a clean house, and plays with his kid for an hour. But these time-use questions have nothing to do with the contention that “science” shouldn’t allow women to “compete” with men in the workforce. Far from “tearing us apart,” it’s widely acknowledged that dual-earner households allow families to live more comfortably.

Women might be complementary in Erickson’s worldview, but they’re primary when it comes to economic growth. The increase in female labor force participation in the last half century has added nearly 2 percentage points per year to GDP growth in the U.S., according to one study. The nice thing about the rise of working women is that no matter how retrograde your opinion of them, they’re still making all of us richer.