Election 2010

'Focus Female' – the Floating Voter in the driving seat

61% of female AA members have yet to decide which political party addresses their motoring concerns

14 April 2010

Next month's election result could be swung by a new and significantly large breed of floating voter – the AA 'Focus Female', research for the AA has found.

'Motorway Man' and 'Mondeo Man', motor voters identified as key targets for political parties may have to give way to the 61% of female AA members who have yet to decide which political party addresses their clear motoring concerns.

The AA's 'Focus Female' in her best selling Ford Focus* has overtaken 'Worcester Women' and 'Asda Mum' as key female targets in the election. There are now 20 million female drivers, just 7% fewer than males.

With 74% of female AA members saying that motoring issues are very or quite important in determining who they will vote for in the election, this large group of 'undecideds' offer a powerful lure for the party that sets out to woo them.

Male AA voters place greater importance (77%) on motoring issues as a decider of voting preference, but have much firmer views on which party will tackle them – only 36% yet to make their minds up.

An AA/Populus survey of 14,848 AA members found that women drivers were more concerned than men about the cost of motoring, drink and drug-driving, and road safety. These were sentiments largely echoed by younger drivers.


Edmund King, AA president said: "We believe that the 43 million drivers out there could be very influential in the outcome of the general election as most are voters. Amongst these motor voters the floating 'Focus Females' seem to be more undecided and hence more prone to be swung. Political parties should consider what they can do to get these influential voters on board."

Survey results

Motor voters will count in the general election

New AA/Populus data shows that 'Motorway Men' and 'Women at the Wheel' will play a key role in determining which party does best in the general election. Less than a fifth of these motor voters currently back any of the main political parties but more women than men appear willing to be swayed - a quarter more saying they don't know. More men than women (32%) feel that none of the main political parties were 'most motorist friendly' whilst only 19% of women said this.

Which of the following do you think is the most motorist-friendly political party?

  Labour Conservative Lib Dem None of these Don't know
May 2008 2% 19% 3% 31% 44%
November 2009 3% 17% 4% 28% 48%
March 2010 4% 19% 5% 32% 46%

Gender split of 'Don't Know' responses:

May 2008 – Male (37%), Female (56%)
November 2009 – Male (39%), Female (63%)
March 2010 – Male (36%), Female (61%)

Age split of 'Don't Know' responses

  18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
May 2008 58% 52% 46% 41% 36% 34%
November 2009 62% 60% 51% 46% 41% 39%
March 2010 66% 60% 51% 45% 38% 33%

How to spot the AA 'Focus Female'

  • Juggles work/life – uses car to go to work, gym, take kids to school, visit mum and to go to Waitrose
  • Has more concern for road safety – more willing to support tough driver sanctions such as lower drink drive limit
  • Listens to BBC Radio 2 and would ring the Chris Evans show to say what wheels she is driving
  • She will have numerous store loyalty cards in her handbag/glove box as well as her AA membership card
  • Ambitious and career minded – keen to progress up the company ladder
  • She keeps her car clean and tidy and won't tolerate smoking inside it
  • She drives a Ford Focus and aspires towards a premium sector cabriolet
  • Enjoys an Italian meal with girl friends and will split the bill


'Focus Female' video news report on ITN News »

Results taken from AA/Populus panel on-line polls conducted:

May 2008, 18,547 responses
November 2009, 14,848 responses
March 2010, 17,480 responses

* Ford cars are the most popular owned cars in the Populus panel (16% same % for most ages and both sexes).

The importance of motoring as an election issue is illustrated by the AA/Populus panel's responses to the question "Thinking ahead to the next General Election, how important would driving issues (for example, spending on roads, fuel tax policies, road charging/tolls) be in determining which party you decide to vote for?"

Very important – 35%
Quite important – 41%
Neither – 17%
Quite unimportant – 5%
Very unimportant – 2%

There are no major differences between ages and sexes in the above except for older voters 45+ for whom it's more 'very important' (35%-40%) and younger voters for whom its more 'quite important' (50%).


14 April 2010