Political parties looking to gain wins in this year's elections and beyond must focus on women who, in the last decade or so, have become more diverse in their political wants, two political pollsters said Tuesday.
That means both Democrats and Republicans will have to look at women in a new way and begin examining trends the same way corporations do: by their station in life.
"The average woman today doesn't say, 'I'm Republican, so today I'll do this,' or 'I'm a Democrat, so I'll do that,'" pollster and author Kellyanne Conway told an audience Tuesday at the Dole Institute of Politics.
Conway, a conservative, spoke with pollster and Democratic political strategist Celinda Lake at the forum in The First Woman President lecture series. The speakers co-authored the book "What Women Really Want" about erasing gender gaps.
So what do women really want? The speakers' research basically agreed: Women want a variety of things that will give them feelings of peace and control in their lives.
Politicians hoping to capture the vote of women, Lake said, have to turn away from the "rule the world" mentality of past campaigns.
"Woman still want it all, but not all at once," Lake said. Instead, what women want varies widely depending on their life situation, Conway said.
Take three 46-year-old women, she said. One could be a grandmother, one could have a kindergartner and the other could be single and working.
For political parties, this means considering demographic information that typically isn't used in political campaigns.
For Republicans, Conway said, it means understanding the lives of the 27 million or so women who, for whatever reason, aren't married.
"I think single women are the big get," Conway said of the next election cycle.
For Democrats, women who are small-business owners should be their target demographic, Lake said. They are growing by the millions, she said, and already have changed the way politicians look at the wants of business owners.
But regardless, the speakers said, women are a factor in elections - whether they are running on the national scale or not.
"Women are not red and blue," Lake said. "Women have tremendous support for each other."