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Battling For The Votes Of The "Soccer Moms"

Soccer Moms

By Marc Watts/CNN

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sept. 30) -- From Plano, Texas, to Park Ridge, Illinois, they can be found, shuttling the kids to practice in minivans, nervously pacing the sidelines, juggling the demands of family and career. They are the soccer moms.

It's really not clear who coined the phrase "soccer moms." But it's obvious the presidential candidates are desperately seeking their vote.

"We're what counts, you know," says Kim Scholz. "If they're gonna get the vote they're gonna come to us."

Scholz

"They're part of a swing group," says Dennis Simon, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University. By that, "we mean largely independent, or weakly affiliated with parties, whose votes move back and forth from Democrat to Republican election to election."

This year most suburban mothers, many of them soccer moms, are leaning toward President Bill Clinton.

Simon

Even in solidly Republican Park Ridge, a suburb northwest of Chicago, Clinton is leading. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton grew up here as a Republican but has since changed parties. Her husband captured only a handful of votes here in 1992, but things are different this time around.

A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found that Clinton leads Dole by 25 points among white suburban women. His lead over Dole among women is often attributed to Republican efforts to restrict abortion, but the soccer moms who CNN talked to also cited their finances and Dole's age.

"I don't think he's in touch with what's going on now," says Melissa Pern. "He's living back in the olden ages as to how things should be."

With polls showing Clinton and Dole evenly matched among men, the race for soccer moms is underway. They're a powerful bloc of suburban women both presidential candidates would like to have on their team.

This story originally appeared on CNN's "Inside Politics."

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