IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH

The Associated Press
August 29, 2012
Ann Romney, wife of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, looks over the main stage during a sound check, as Stuart Stevens, senior advisor for Romney campaign, right, watches at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Americans listening to Ann Romney's speech Tuesday night may relate to her story of love and its challenges.

Though the share of Americans who are married has declined in the last half century, many have found wedded happiness and see love as the central feature of a marriage. A 2010 Pew Research Center/Time poll found that 93 percent of married adults said love was a vital reason they got married. And most single Americans said love was the most important reason to get married. In that same year's General Social Survey, 63 percent of married people described their marriages as "very happy."

Married women typically make up about a third of voters in presidential election years, according to exit polling. In 2008, they broke 51 percent for John McCain to 47 percent for Barack Obama. The group last supported a Democrat in 1996, when 48 percent backed Clinton, 43 percent Dole and 7 percent Perot. Unmarried women, though, break solidly in favor of Democrats: Seventy percent of them backed Obama in 2008.

Mrs. Romney's experience with breast cancer could resonate with a sizable share of the public as well. A Gallup/USA Today poll in 2011 found that 78 percent of Americans know someone who has had breast cancer. Nearly half of women have either had the disease themselves or seen a close friend or family member fall victim.

— Jennifer Agiesta — Twitter http://twitter.com/jennagiesta

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EDITOR'S NOTE — Convention Watch shows you the 2012 political conventions through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.