Skimming the Female Vote

By Emily B. Cyr

Interviews with Presidential candidates are not hard to come by these days. You can find them on TV, on the radio or in a newspaper, if you just look, you will find them. But what if you did not have to look and they came right to your inbox? This election cycle, there is a new media outlet for candidates to employ known as TheSkimm. The media start-up, hardly three years old with over 1.5 million subscribers, is getting the attention of candidates not only for quantity of its audience but also for the quality.

For those unfamiliar with TheSkimm, it is “a daily e-mail newsletter that simplifies headlines for busy professionals, especially women”. Founders Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin read the news and “skim” it down for their subscribers. It has become an increasingly popular newsletter, with Oprah and Reese Witherspoon among those who call themselves a “skimm’r”. It has a strong hold with female millennials, especially in part to the “Skimm’bassador” program. Over 6,000 women are Skimbassadors, which means they promote the newsletter by referring friends and family to the letter through email. Basically, TheSkimm is changing the way young women get their news- and candidates hope to change the way young women vote.

Women have become an increasingly key voter demographic for candidates to court ever since 1919. They have overtaken men in voter turnout, with 63.7 % of eligible women turning out for the 2012 presidential election while 59.8 % of men did. [1] The difference was even greater when comparing the number of single women who voted compared to single men, and according to the Pew Research Institute, millennials make up over a quarter of the eligible electorate, and will count as a third by 2020. [2]  Both TheSkimm and candidates know the support of this group could mean be things, which is why they have started “Skimm your Candidate”.

TheSkimm has offered every candidate to “Guest Skimm”. So far, 11 candidates have participated in the interviews including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Jeb Bush. The short, easy read interviews toe the line between political and personal, keeping in tune with the playful news style of the Skimm brand.  They tell readers it is their job to “hire” a new president, so skim the candidates asking for their votes. The questions include what is the candidate’s hometown, who would be a good reference for them, where they stand on certain issues and how each takes his/her coffee. Some interviews are longer than others and some candidates are more playful than others but each had equal opportunity to sell their platform to the Skimm readers.

So take some time to sit down and skim your candidates, because 2016 is on your shoulders, ladies.