Somewhere along the way, the stressed-out, minivan-driving juggler of lives and roles was awarded the title of MVP in the competition for voters. She became the icon of 1996, nearly running over the Angry White Male of 1994 in her new Dodge Caravan.
But in politics, as in soccer, you have to use your head. A trip through the postelection world is a reminder that her role was a touch inflated. Suburban, married moms with kids at home were never more than 6 percent of the voters. Gary Langer at the ABC News Polling Unit calls them simply the "group du jour." He fairly sputters at the idea that they could swing anything but a headline.
Ellen Goodman, "Meet the worried woman," The Boston Globe, November 10, 1996
The Associated Press, October 14, 1982
—Soccer Mom, “In defence of soccer,” The Argus (Fremont, California), September 21, 1973
That impressive spike in 1996 was due to the incredible amount of ink devoted to the soccer mom demographic in the U.S. presidential election of that year.