Renee Zellwegger - the New Ohio?

How many swing voter posts in one day is too many?

We decide, you retort.

Remember, back in the spring, when the press first assigned “swing voter status” to young, unmarried women? “Sex and the City” voters, some folks called them. (Campaign Desk preferred to invoke Paris Hilton).

On Saturday, Fox News’s Catherine Donaldson-Evans retread this too-trodden territory, summoning yet another well-known, plucky single gal. “… [T]he Bridget Joneses among America’s voters might prove as important as a swing state in the upcoming presidential election,” Donaldson-Evans reported.

Reminding readers that Bridget Jones “is, of course, fictitious,” Donaldson-Evans asserted that the unlucky-in-love book/film protagonist nonetheless “has come to represent singles everywhere.” And “with 80 million of them living in this country and recent findings that they’re less likely to vote than ‘Smug Marrieds,’” Donaldson-Evans counseled the candidates that they “would be wise to go after the unwed to help win the White House.”

So, not surprisingly, did Trish McDermott, the “vice president of romance” for the online dating service, “which recently released the results of a Gallup survey about singles and politics” (the existence of which surely more than justifies Fox revisiting this topic). McDermott, in fact, believes that Bridget Joneses “could be the soccer moms of this election.”

Contrary to the story’s headline, “Campaigns Consider Singles in 2004 Race,” the candidates don’t seem to be particularly focused on “Bridget Jones” voters. “Neither the Bush-Cheney nor the Kerry-Edwards campaigns are specifically trying to appeal to singles,” Donaldson-Evans reported in paragraph eight.

In fact, campaign flacks tried to steer the reporter away from her original thesis. A Bush campaign spokesman told Donaldson-Evans that “everybody is concerned about the same basic things,” and a Kerry spokesman told her that “singles fall under a variety of voting bloc umbrellas, members of some of the groups — unmarried woman, for example — are already targeted in its outreach efforts.” McDermott, the employee, even weighed in with what sounds like a cautionary note: “Single people are not single-minded.”

Really? You mean people who share one thing in common — whether it be fear of commitment, an enthusiasm for hunting and fishing, or membership in a religious sect — don’t all think or act alike?

Stop the presses!

Liz Cox Barrett

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.