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Campaign Throwback: 'Soccer Moms'

FiveThirtyEight Politics

ABC News

News, Politics

4.620.3K Ratings

🗓️ 15 May 2024

⏱️ 28 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


This is the second installment of the 538 Politics podcast mini-series, “Campaign Throwback.” Across three episodes, we're taking a look back at campaign tropes from past elections such as, “it’s the economy, stupid,” or “soccer moms” or that question about which candidate you’d rather share a beer with. We’ll ask where those tropes came from, whether they were actually true at the time and if they still hold up today. In our second installment: "soccer moms." In 1992, Bill Clinton won the presidential election in what was called the "year of the woman" after a record number of women ran for office and won. As the 1996 election took shape, gender politics were still at the forefront of campaign coverage. As Clinton’s popularity was growing and Dole was lagging in the early polls, the idea took hold that “soccer moms” might either save Dole’s chances or ensure that Clinton made it over the edge. But when the election was all said and done, was that conventional wisdom correct? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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Married moms in the suburbs, they've been called soccer moms, they've been called security moms.


Pamela Wilk is a so-called soccer mom. Those so-called Walmart moms. She calls herself a hockey mom.


I love those hockey moms. The hockey mom trying to connect with the soccer mom.


Those are real life brown bears, not political mama grislies. Hello and this is the 538 Politics Podcast I'm Gailin Druk and this is the second installment of our mini series campaign throwback.


Across three episodes we're taking a look back at campaign tropes from past elections


and asking where they came from, whether they were actually true at the time, and if they still hold up today.


Last week we asked whether James Carville's famous slogan,


It's the Economy Stupid, accurately describes the role the economy plays in elections.


If you haven't heard it yet, go check it out.


But today, we're turning our focus to another


1990s trope. Soccer moms. During the 1996 presidential campaign, the idea of the soccer mom as the quintessential


swing voter took hold.


But was that based on anything other than political imagination?


The truth is that what we want for poor women, for middle class women, for rich women,


is the same thing. We want people to be able to live out their own dreams.


In 1996, Bill Clinton was running for a second term against Republican Bob Dole in an environment


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