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U.S. News Archive
October 07 - October 13, 2000





This page contains news for the period October 07, 2000 through October 13, 2000.


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Friday, October 13, 2000

Poll shows a continuing 'marital status gap' in presidential voting preferences

A story released today over PRNewswire reports that  according to a new poll conducted for iVillage.com: The Women's Network by Knowledge Networks (previously known as InterSurvey), a Web-based polling firm, there continues to be a significant "marriage gap" in the preferences of American voters.

Results for the poll are based on a nationwide sample of 1,078 adults (510 men and 568 women) 18 years of age or older, during the period September 20-29, 2000. The error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

The poll shows an major gap has emerged between married and single Americans. Single women favor Gore by a vast 67% to 20%, while married women give Gore a more modest 51% to 41% lead. Among married men, Bush enjoys a substantial 54% to 34% lead, but among single men the race is nearly even, with Gore ahead 43% to 40%.

The iVillage/Knowledge Networks Poll was designed by Anna Greenberg, an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard
University, and Mike Bocian, Director of Public Opinion and Political Research at Knowledge Networks.

Arizona health care ballot initiative would help single people and not just families

The Arizona Star published an editorial today recommending that voters support Proposition 204 rather than Proposition 200.  Both measures are intended to reform health care services in Arizona.

The editorial says that both of the propositions would expand health care provided to indigent families, but there are important differences between them.

Proposition 204 would provides health insurance for all indigent people, while 200 extends insurance only to parents of children who are already covered by the state's indigent health care system. Supporters of 204 say the measure will extend health insurance to 130,000 people. Supporters of 200 say it will extend coverage to 40,000 adults.

The paper says that both propositions are important because, if passed, they will determine the extent of health care for needy families for a long time. If passed, 200 remains in force for 25 years, while 204 more wisely allows the Legislature to review the effects of the program after 10 years.

Proposition 204, known as Healthy Arizona 2, was originally passed in 1996 with 72 percent voter approval, but the state Legislature never funded it. Then as now, the intent of the measure was to make more people - the working poor - eligible for benefits under the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the state's health insurance for the poor.

Unlike Prop. 200 which is limited to helping parents of children in poor families, Proposition 204 also includes health care for single parents and unmarried individuals who meet the income eligibility standards.

The paper says that this is a difference which Proposition 204 a more worthwhile measure.

Single voters paying less attention to presidential race than married voters

A story published today by the Associated Press reports that if you are older, or married, or have a higher income, you are more likely to be paying close attention to the presidential race than younger, or single, or less affluent voters.

``That's why prescription drugs loom so important in this election,'' said political scientist David Aldrich, a voter specialist at Duke University, referring to the importance of older voters. ``Their voting turnout rates stay very high, and they are growing more in number.''

Older Americans are ``the people with the last vestiges of the religion of civic duty,'' said Curtis Gans, director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate.

``It's very important to me,'' agreed 75-year-old Elizabeth Hagy of Watauga, Tenn., a tiny hamlet in the northeastern section of the state. ``If you don't vote you don't have a voice. The younger generations don't take it as seriously.''

Voters these days are most likely to be college-educated, middle-to-upper income, older, employed and owners of homes, election records show.

Overall, only 49 percent of voters turned out in the 1996 election, the lowest figure in a presidential year since 1924. Analysts expect a similar turnout this year.

The most striking trend over the past four decades has been the faithfulness of older voters, whose participation has gone up slightly, from 65.4 percent to 65.9

And the turnout rates for age groups from 35 and up were not much lower in the last election.

Young Americans are just not as interested, and their rates have been dropping sharply. Just over a fourth of those from 18-24 voted four years ago.

Voting rates have declined for both men and women, but women have a slightly higher rate now. Men once were higher.

Two thirds of men voted in 1964, but that had dwindled to 48.6 percent by 1996. By comparison, about six of 10 women voted in 1964 and that had decreased to 51.3 percent.

Since there are more women than men in the country, that has increased their political clout and has contributed to the campaign ``going Oprah'' this year.

Some other contrasts in voting patterns:

--High school dropouts have gone from six in 10 voting to about half. College graduates have dropped from 81 percent to 66 percent. Those with more than a college degree are at 73 percent.

--People who make below $15,000 dropped from half in 1964 to a third in 1996. Americans who make more than $48,000 dropped from 78.9 percent to 65.8 percent.

--Those who are employed have slipped from 66 percent to 51 percent. Those who are unemployed have dropped from 52 percent to 33 percent.

--Homeowners vote at almost twice the rate of renters -- 57.7 percent to 31.9 percent.

Thomas Patterson, a political scientist at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, said his polls measuring voter interest in the campaign suggest patterns from past elections are likely to continue this year.

--Of those over 65, just over half were paying a lot of attention to the campaign compared with 25 percent of adults under age 34.

--Of people making more than $50,000, half were paying close attention, compared with just under a third of those making less than $25,000.

--Married people were paying more attention than single people by 41 percent to 30 percent.

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

WBZ in Boston airs show on singles' rights

    Paul Sullivan

Thomas F. Coleman, executive director of AASP, was a guest on the Paul Sullivan Show last night.  The show was hosted by Joe Sciacca, who was standing in for Sullivan.  Sciacca is the political editor of the Boston Herald newspaper.

Coleman was on the show for a full hour.  Issues explored included: presidential candidates ignoring single and unmarried voters, the social stigma often associated with being single or divorced, as well as marital status discrimination against workers, consumers, and taxpayers.

Several people called in to express their views on these issues.  Most callers were supportive of AASP and its mission.   One of our members, Marshall Miller who lives in the Boston area, told listeners about how he and his domestic partner, Dorian Solot, had been denied a joint renters insurance policy because they are not married.  Miller and Solot are founders of the Alternatives to Marriage Project.

U.S. high court denies appeal on lesbian visitation

A story published today by Reuters reports that U.S. Supreme Court let stand on Tuesday a ruling that a lesbian who helped her partner raise twins for two years should have visitation rights after the couple broke up.

In a case from New Jersey, the high court rejected without comment an appeal by the biological mother of the twins, who argued that her constitutional rights had been violated.

The case involved a woman, identified as M.J.B., who became pregnant by artificial insemination and gave birth to the twins in 1994.

The biological mother and her lesbian partner, identified as V.C., raised the boy and girl together for two years until their separation in 1996.

For a short time, M.J.B. allowed V.C. to visit the twins, but stopped the visits because she believed the children suffered from stress from continued contact with V.C. M.J.B. also felt V.C. was not properly caring for the children.

At about the same time, both women began relationships with new partners.

V.C. then sought joint custody and visitation, a request rejected by a lower court.

An appeals court gave her visitation rights, but not joint custody, a decision affirmed by the New Jersey Supreme Court. It said visitation would be in the best interest of the children.

The case will be sent back to the trial judge to establish a visitation schedule.

Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows young adults with mixed views on abortion, strong support for sex education and gay rights

A story released today over US Newswire reports that young adults have mixed opinions on abortion, but strong positions on comprehensive sex education, HIV/AIDS policies, and gay rights, according to a new national survey of 18-24 year-olds released today by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV's "Choose or Lose" campaign.

More than 600 18-24 year-olds were interviewed for the survey, titled Sex Laws: Youth Opinion on Sexual Health Issues in the 2000 Election.

Seventy percent of young people say that whatever their own opinion on abortion, they favor a woman having the choice to have an abortion with the advice of her doctor, and 60 percent favor federal funding so that poor women have the same access to abortions as other women have. On the other hand, about half (47 percent) say they favor policies that would make abortion illegal in all cases except rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. More than two-thirds (68 percent)  say they support policies requiring girls under 18 to get a parent's consent for abortion (17 states currently require parental consent and 15 require parental  notification, although "bypass" provisions allow the requirement to be waived, usually by a judge).

"This survey makes it clear that we can't stereotype young people's opinions on public policy," said Vicky Rideout, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.   "They have complex, nuanced views on many of these hot button issues."

"The outcome of the upcoming presidential election will undoubtedly have a dramatic influence on such crucial issues to young people as abortion, gay and lesbian   rights, and sex education," commented Dave Sirulnick, executive vice president of news & production at MTV. "We hope Choose or Lose 2000: Sex Laws will help young voters to make informed decisions with regards to these issues on Election Day."

About three out of four (73 percent) young adults oppose policies restricting federal funding to abstinence-only sex education courses in schools (25 percent favor  such restrictions), and six in ten say they would be more likely to support a candidate who favors making federal funding available to comprehensive sex education courses that include information on contraceptive options (5 percent say they would be less likely to support such a candidate, and 32 percent say a candidate's position on sex ed wouldn't make much difference one way or another). Eighty-four percent believe that high school health centers should make condoms available  to students who ask for them.

On issues concerning the rights of gays and lesbians, more than three out of four (77 percent) young adults say they favor increased penalties for people who commit  hate crimes against gays, and 72 percent support providing the same legal rights for gay couples forming civil unions as those provided to heterosexual married  couples. They are more closely divided on the specific question of whether gay couples should have adoption rights (56 percent support, 38 percent oppose) and on  whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military (53 percent support, 41 percent oppose). Half of 18-24 year-olds (51 percent) say a  candidate's position on expanding legal protections for gays wouldn't make much difference to their vote one way or the other (28 percent would be more likely to  support a candidate who favored expanding such protections, while 20 percent said they would be less likely to support such a candidate).

On HIV/AIDS, more than two-thirds say research to find an AIDS vaccine (78 percent) and to find better AIDS treatments (66 percent) should be a top priority for  the government. Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) support proposals to require health officials to notify past sexual or needle-sharing partners of people who test positive for HIV.




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