Ann Romney and Michelle Obama playing important role in presidential campaign

4:43 PM, Sep 12, 2012   |    comments
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Largo, Florida - Ann Romney and Michelle Obama: we'll be hearing a lot from both.

Perhaps like never before, the wives will play an important role in this year's presidential campaign.

"The spouses of the candidates have become much more important than they used to be," says USF Political Science Professor Susan MacManus.

MacManus says the campaigns will use both Ann Romney and Michelle Obama to try and grab the votes of women and that's especially important here in Florida.

"Women voters make up 53% of all Florida's registered voters," notes MacManus. "And they turn out at a much higher rate, so both Ann Romney and Michelle Obama will play key roles in appealing to women voters."

The wives can also help voters relate to the candidates by offering up personal glimpses into their lives and audiences eat it up.

"For the women to talk lovingly about their husbands, it's very powerful with a lot of women voters, particularly married women, who are again are very high turnout." MacManus says.

While First Ladies have also advocated for social issues of their own -- for example, Laura Bush championed literacy -- research shows people don't vote specifically for a candidate's wife. However, the political popularity of Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Romney could certainly help sway this election.

MacManus says, "It helps promote turnout and turnout is the key to winning."

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