Quinnipiac University is out with a new poll this morning that shows President Barack Obama edging out Mitt Romney 49 per cent to 45 per cent among likely voters, building his lead with a massive 18-point advantage among female voters.
While most recent polls have shown a gender gap between the two candidates, the new survey’s margins are astounding. Women break for Obama 56 per cent to 38 per cent, and Romney’s 52 to 42 per cent lead among men isn’t enough to catch up.
The poll should be very troubling to Romney for two reasons:
- First, it proves that there really was a war for women
- And second, it shows Obama is winning that war handily
There are compelling reasons to suggest that this flagging support among women is not just Romney’s problem. The former Massachusetts governor is not defined by his strong conservative stance on women’s issues, and has even been criticised by his party for flip-flopping on abortion. Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan, whose pro-life record is more consistently conservative, is also much better known for his positions on fiscal issues.
A new research memo of female voters in Virginia bears this out, arguing that Romney’s problems with women are “more reflective of how these voters view the Republican brand rather than Governor Romney.”
Regardless of who wins the election, this trend is bad news for Republicans, who are already struggling against nationwide demographic shifts that tend to favour Democrats.
But Romney is not entirely blameless. Republicans have long argued that women are more concerned with economic issues than they are with contraception, and most issue-polling bears that out. But in the absence of a detailed economic plan from the Republican presidential nominee, voters are free to be distracted by trigger issues and party perceptions that could influence their vote for years to come.
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