Opinion Brief

Obama's massive lead with women: How much will it actually help?

New polls show that, when it comes to women voters, the president is leaving Mitt Romney in the dust — but that hardly guarantees Obama a second term

A slew of big national polls agree that, at least for now, President Obama is winning the female vote, big time. In a new Washington Post/ABC News survey, Obama is leading presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney by 19 percentage points among women – 57 percent to 38 percent — and losing among men by only eight points. Recent Gallup and CNN polls found a similar gender gap favoring Obama. But the same polls also show voters unhappy about the economy and gas prices, and Romney beating Obama on key issues like the federal deficit — not to mention an even split among crucial independent voters. With so many other factors at play, how much does Obama's big lead among women really help him?

Women are Obama's trump card: If Obama keeps pummeling Romney among women, he "can begin writing another inaugural speech" now, says Jason Stanford at The Huffington Post. And at this rate, it's hard to see how Romney can win women back: The GOP's war on contraception has women fleeing the party in droves, and its condescending belittling of their other concerns will keep women firmly in Obama's camp. "Don Draper must be giving sensitivity training to the Republican Party these days...."
"The GOP's problem with women and caterpillars"

Romney can still win women over: Romney's problem with women is real and serious, says Michael Gerson in The Washington Post. But it's not about contraception. He just needs to "show some humanity," and pick a "justice and equity" issue that proves he can "give a damn about someone other than Republican primary voters." Today's Tea Party-dominated GOP is harsh on immigration, silent on poverty, and militant on social issues. "How many women would find this profile appealing on eHarmony?" Romney needs to branch out.
"How Romney can solve his woman problem"

We're blowing this way out of proportion: Women are not, as journalists like to pretend, "semi-free electoral automata driven by their hearts, their hormones," and their empathy-seeking "ovarian antennae," says Walter Kirn at GQ. Yes, Romney is trailing among women now. But women are in fact "subject to rational modification" just like men, and both sexes will pick whichever candidate convinces them he will make the better president.
"The end of empathy"

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