From the moment Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton started campaigning for the presidency in January, I noticed something different about the crowds at her rallies.
Inevitably, a big majority of every crowd was female, and at just about every event, I meet women who have never been to a campaign rally before. Some had never even voted.
It looked like a trend, and the polling data proved it to be. A Pew Research Center poll last month showed Clinton with a 20 point lead among women against Republican presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani -- a gender gap so vast that it could make Clinton president.
I went to Las Vegas earlier this month, not just to cover the latest Democratic debate, but also to meet more of the women who are propelling Clinton's candidacy … and to write about them.
And in doing so, I came to wonder if they are the counterweight to the 45 percent or so of Americans who say they have an unfavorable impression of the New York senator.
After all, being "polarizing" means that plenty of people out there really like you, too. And after following the campaign for nearly a year, it's clear to me that for Clinton, it's the nurses and home-care workers and single moms who have made her the odds-on favorite to be the next president.
Most of them don't blog and don't call in to talk radio and don't appear on cable TV's shout shows, but if you go to Clinton's campaign events, you'll meet them.
And sometime in the next year, we'll learn whether they'll be the core of a mostly silent majority that wants one particular woman in the White House.