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Will a 53% voter advantage be enough for Grimes?

On the wall, the sign reads "When Women Vote, Democrats Win." That turned out to be the case in 2012 when Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by 10 points among women voters nationally.

Fifty three percent of Kentucky voters this November will be women.

That should be excellent news for Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic woman running for the US Senate against 30 year incumbent Mitch McConnell. Notice the qualifiers - "should be". Poll numbers between the candidates bounce back and forth daily.

Whether one believes the polls or the pollsters or not, it is clear once again that women do not vote for women just because they are women. National research has found that women have different expectations of government than men. The fact that women earn less than men and are more likely to be poor makes it likely that women want more government than their male counterparts.

We could find no evidence - outside of anecdotal accounts - that men vote for men because they are men, but we suspect that a greater percentage of men do just that.

What voters say they will do and what national research says they will do is not always borne out at the ballot box. If women candidates enjoyed a several point advantage because every woman voting would be voting for women, then there would be more than 20% of elected offices held by women.

What this means this November is that Senator Mitch McConnell must convince more women to vote for him than he needs to convince men. McConnell dipped a toe in that water when his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, cut one television ad for him. She hasn't been seen on the 30 second TV blare since.

Grimes must convince women that she will be a strong supporter of what touches women's lives. Grimes must also show men she is tough enough to do the job and is not the lackey to the very unpopular President of the United States. Grimes' skeet shooting ad, ridiculed by East Coast liberals and NYC comics like Jon Stewart, is her way to show that she is a pistol packin' mama and servant to no man.

Women candidates must walk the fine line between being likable and nice and tough and competent. Is it easy? Ask Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin. Neither candidate prevailed - even though they are in the 53% majority.

It's a Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire moment for yet another woman candidate. Alison Lundergan Grimes will have to do what her male opponent is doing - match him move for move - but do it backwards in high heels and evening gown.

And smile, smile, smile while she's doing it.


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