Editors note: Campaigns are won and lost by how well candidates recruit supporters and then ensure those supporters turn out to vote. This series continues on Mondays through Election Day.
Ask Sharon Hudson how she thinks her life could be affected by the upcoming election, and shell roll off a long list of topics.
For example, shes worried about what she sees as an erosion of individual liberties in recent years and hopes to see a repeal of business regulations that she says have choked out job growth. She hopes for another consideration of health care reform, better foreign policy and energy policies that could lower fuel prices and, in turn, the price of food.
Hudson, 53, a vice president of the North Mecklenburg Republican Women organization, is supporting Mitt Romney.
Hudsons interest in a variety of economic, security and social issues helps illustrate the difficulty of understanding a key constituency for many candidates: the female voter.
Some national studies have shown that concerns about the economy and jobs have ranked above topics like abortion or reproductive issues among female voters. Others say debates over issues concerning womens rights are more intense this year than in the past.
Hudson said women arent a one-issue constituency and resists efforts to lump or label female voters. For example, she took issue with an e-postcard that was briefly posted on an Obama campaign website with a message to women to Vote Like Your Lady Parts Depend on It.
Hudson said she hasnt seen anything on the Romney platform that makes her concerned for herself or her daughters.
I feel like my most important lady part is my brain, Hudson said. And when I look at unemployment and the economy, religious freedom, free speech, foreign policy (and) national security issues, I side with the Romney-Ryan ticket.
And, she added, I would say that issues that are important to women are issues that are important to everyone.
Both candidates court vote
Still, women are a crucial constituency for politicians.
Four years ago, 10 million more women than men voted in the general election, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Barack Obama won 56 percent of the female vote in 2008, but some recent national polls show the presidents edge among women is narrowing.
Both of the presidential campaigns have efforts targeting the female vote. On Saturday, Jill Biden, wife of the vice president, spoke at a Women for Obama-Biden rally in Charlotte, saying the administration stood up for the rights of women every single day.
Hudson said a recent Women for Mitt event in Huntersville included five members of Romneys cabinet from his time as Massachusetts governor who said, among other things, that he had more women in top positions than governors in other parts of the country.
Hudson has been a volunteer leader with the North Mecklenburg Republican Women group since shortly after it formed in 2009 and manages its publicity efforts. She previously volunteered with the Mecklenburg GOP and worked on campaigns for retiring congresswoman Sue Myrick and former Charlotte City Council member Don Reid.
Hudson also has worked in the past as an administrative assistant and writer for a public relations firm, among other jobs.
Nationally, some have questioned whether people are as engaged in the presidential election in 2012 as they were in 2008. Hudson said she thinks they are.
From my perspective, the people I see and talk to many people are extremely anxious to vote Obama out of office, she said. I dont see that his supporters are necessarily as enthusiastic as they were four years ago.
Hudson also is a precinct captain in Huntersville and said shell be focused in the coming weeks on ensuring people make it to the polls.
Sometimes we think as individuals we cant make a difference, she said. But dont ever underestimate the power of one.