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Political Notebook: Unmarried women give support to Martin, Obama

A research group is attributing U.S. senate candidate Jim Martin's strong showing on Tuesday to support from unmarried women.

The survey, conducted by Lake Research Partners and commissioned by Women's Voices. Women Vote, said it was that group that helped Martin get enough votes to force incumbent Saxby Chambliss into a runoff.

"Georgia prepares for a runoff election because of the support Martin received from unmarried women," said Page Gardner, founder and president of Women's Voices. Women Vote. "For Martin, getting unmarried women out to vote in the runoff election is the key to winning this seat."

The survey found 71 percent of unmarried women supported the Democrat, giving him a 49 point spread with Chambliss. They also supported Barack Obama by 42 points, a release said. That followed a national trend, according to surveys conducted in New Hampshire, North Carolina and Minnesota.

The results also showed that 55 percent of married women supported John McCain for president and Chambliss over Martin by a 7-point spread.

Nationally, the results showed that unmarried women gave Obama a bigger victory margin than those of young voters and Latino voters, favoring him 70 percent to 29 percent, while married women preferred McCain 50 percent to 47 percent.

"Throughout this election season, we've seen unmarried women paying attention to the candidates, and last night we saw them turn out to make their voices heard," Gardner said. "Unmarried women are the fastest-growing large demographic in the country, and during this election, we've seen them register and vote in record numbers."

The biggest issues for women centered on concerns over the economy, pollsters found, with 16 percent citing rising health care costs; 13 percent, the budge deficit; 11 percent, job loss; 10 percent concerned about the availability of family-supporting jobs; 10 percent worried about higher taxes and 10 percent about daily expenses such as food or child care.

Buckley to ask for pledge

Libertarian Allen Buckley, who pulled in 3.4 percent of the vote in the U.S. Senate race, is creating a "commitment statement" to determine whether he will endorse Chambliss or Martin.

Buckley said the statement will emphasize financial responsibility, and if only one man agrees to sign it, he will endorse that person. If neither or both agree, he will reanalyze the situation, a press release said.

"Jim Martin has already called me about a possible endorsement," Buckley said. "The commitment list will be short and concise. With one possible exception, all of the things on the list will relate to my campaign positions."

Chambliss and Martin are expected to face off on Dec. 2, although the secretary of state has not yet officially called for the runoff election as Fulton continued to count absentee ballots.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.