Feature

Women voters: Are they deserting Obama?

Obama once held an 18-point lead among women, but Mitt Romney’s recent surge has been driven by female voters.

Female voters are “abandoning the president en masse,” said Molly Ball in TheAtlantic.com. Obama once held an 18-point lead among women, largely due to Republican policies to restrict contraception, ban abortion, and defund Planned Parenthood. But Mitt Romney’s recent surge in the polls has been driven by female voters deserting Obama; polls show the gender gap has shrunk to 9 points. Why, at this late stage, are so many women “open to changing their minds”? It’s because women vote with their pocketbooks, said NationalReview.com in an editorial, not by their sex. Romney’s surge came after he got a chance in the debates to argue that he’s the better choice for anyone who cares about the economy and job creation. Women also don’t like being patronized—as Obama has done to them throughout this campaign with his contrived “war on women.” 

It’s Romney who’s doing the patronizing, said Jena McGregor in The Washington Post.In the second debate, he boasted that when he was elected governor of Massachusetts, he got “binders full of women” so he could appoint females to top state jobs. That sure sounds like he views hiring women into leadership roles as an “exercise in tokenism.” He then compounded his “tone-deaf” sexism by proudly noting that he gave female employees flexible working schedules so that they could rush home to cook dinner for their families. Women aren’t stupid, said Michelle Goldberg in TheDailyBeast.com. Forty percent of female voters say abortion is the most important issue to them—which explains why Romney is fleeing from the “absolutist anti-abortion position of his party,” and rebranding himself as a cuddly moderate. But if he’s elected, he’ll appoint from one to three conservative Supreme Court justices—making the end of Roe v. Wade inevitable.

The two campaigns go into Nov. 6 with two conflicting theories on women voters, said John Heilemann in NYMag.com.Obama’s stands on such issues as equal pay, contraception, and abortion rights still command strong support from minority and college-educated women voters. But he has lost ground with the “waitress mom” demographic—blue-collar white women for whom the economy is paramount. Republicans believe such women are “no different from every other segment of the electorate,” and care about job creation above all. Who’s right? “The answer will likely turn the outcome of the election.”

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