Gardner’s recent accomplishments draw upon more than 20 years’ experience working at senior levels for the most competitive presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial and congressional campaigns across the country.
Leading a Revolution in Civic Engagement
Using her trailblazing insights, media savvy and organizational skills, Gardner has led a revolution in civic engagement on two fronts.
First, she is among the few political consultants who have identified crucial demographic groups. Since the year 2000, she has studied the unique experiences and distinctive voting patterns of unmarried women. And she defined the Rising American Electorate—communities of color, unmarried women and young people—as the rapidly growing progressive force that had long been marginalized but, in part, with the help of civic engagement organizations, could and would become the majority of American Voters.
Second, using scientific metrics to determine which forms of civic engagement activities reap the best returns, she built the nation’s largest and most successful organizations for voter registration and participation using a metrics-based approach to demonstrate effectiveness.
Politico has described Gardner as “widely considered the top expert on the marriage gap”–the critically important differences between the voter participation and preferences of married and unmarried women.
Studying the exit polls for the closely contested 2000 presidential election – at a time when pundits and political professionals focused on the “gender gap” between men and women —Gardner found a previously unrecognized but transformative demographic dynamic: Married women supported the Republican nominee, George W. Bush, but unmarried women, although less likely to vote, favored the Democrat, Al Gore.
Pursuing her insights' implications, in 2003 Gardner founded Women’s Voices, Women Vote—now the Voter Participation Center (VPC)—and its sister organization, the Women’s Voices, Women Vote Action Fund (WVWVAF), now the Center for Voter Information. These organizations have helped 5.7 million people to register and many more millions to vote and participate in democracy.
“Nationally, Page Gardner, a voter-registration expert, has crafted models that allow unmarried women to be found with great accuracy. Conservatives are still playing catch-up."
The Economist, 2013
Unmarried Women’s Participation on the Political Process
Conducting influential studies of unmarried women—including those who are single, separated, divorced or widowed—these organizations informed policymakers’ and opinion leaders’ understandings of these women’s life experiences, policy priorities and political participation.
These findings prompted a more comprehensive conversation about other historically underrepresented groups. Together with other demographers, public opinion analysts and political consultants, Gardner formulated and promoted the concept of the Rising American Electorate that, as she explained in post-election analyses, provided the margin of victory for President Biden and Vice President Harris.
In an interview with Gardner, The Economist magazine declared: “Page Gardner, you are the founder and president of the Voter Participation Center. But I think it's fair to say, if you were a physicist, they would have named an atom after you. Because you're one of the discoverers of this voting bloc...".