Gallup: The gender gap is more about men than women

posted at 3:21 pm on October 24, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

I can’t imagine why men wouldn’t think President Obama is speaking to them.

Despite the great attention paid to the importance of the women’s vote in the 2012 election, there has been a larger change in men’s than in women’s preferences compared with 2008. Barack Obama’s support is down seven percentage points among men versus three points among women. In Gallup’s latest 21-day rolling average of likely voter preferences, based on interviewing conducted Oct. 1-21, Romney leads Obama by 14 points among men, whereas Obama and John McCain were tied among men in Gallup’s final pre-election estimate in 2008. Obama currently leads Romney by eight percentage points among women, whereas he led McCain by 14 among women in 2008.

Others have reported this before, but Gallup confirms that according to their numbers, “Romney’s slight edge in the overall likely voter preferences reflects the fact that he leads among men by a wider margin than Obama leads among women.”

Gender gap

Men asked about what issues are most important to them responded with “jobs, the economy, the deficit, healthcare, and taxes,” all of which are areas Romney does well, particularly deficit. When asked about issues important to women specifically, women answered by including “abortion” and “equal rights” in their top five. But when asked about which issues were most important to the nation, with no mention of women’s issues in the question, those issues disappeared, and women’s issues and men’s issues became nearly one and the same. That’s why the hold Obama had on some of those women’s votes was, as we now see, rather soft:

The recent fluidity of the women’s vote, and the renewed struggle it has sparked, raises a question: Why, at this late hour of the campaign, when the vast majority of voters have made up their minds, are so many women still apparently open to changing their minds? Why was their onetime loyalty to Obama so weak? Will the president’s forceful new emphasis on women’s issues, particularly reproductive issues, bring them back — or are they gone for good?…

The “binders” line didn’t register at all among the undecided women. Nor did anyone mention the Virginia legislature’s controversial move to require women seeking abortions to get ultrasounds, including invasive ones in some cases. When it happened, Democrats were sure the bill, which passed the state house but was watered down after Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell pulled his support, was their permanent ticket to the women’s vote. But now, outside of Obama rallies, it seems largely forgotten.

Neither does Obama’s trumpeting of his work to ensure equal pay necessarily resonate. A couple of months ago, someone called Dee Ralls, a 49-year-old parole and probation worker for the state, at her house to ask about her vote. She said she wasn’t planning to vote for Obama, and the next thing she knew, there was a canvasser at her door, giving a big speech about equal pay for women.

Richard Mourdock, the GOP Senate candidate in Indiana, made remarks about rape and his pro-life position at a debate Tuesday that are destined to become a “national firestorm” with the combined efforts of the press and the Obama campaign. Romney has already distanced himself from Mourdock, and the left is trying to make him the next Todd Akin. But just because it fits a convenient political template for them doesn’t mean Mourdock’s comments should be treated exactly the same. Here they are:

“You know, this is that issue that every candidate for federal or even state office faces. And I have to certainly stand for life. I know that there are some who disagree, and I respect their point of view. But I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have to have on abortion is in that case — of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Mourdock has clarified and apologized, but mostly by way of apologizing for offense taken at a meaning he didn’t intend. Democrats are certainly treating Mourdock unfairly to suggest that he implied God intends rape itself to happen, or is applauding its occurrence, as many of these headlines imply.

The country and women are about evenly split between pro-life and pro-choice positions, but the number of voters for allowing exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother is very high. Any time you’re taking a relatively unpopular position that you know, with certainty, you will be asked about, you should have ready for that issue simply the most disciplined, delicate answer you can possibly give. Any Republican who gets into this discussion without knowing that does so at his own peril, especially given that the truly dumb and offensive comments of Akin have created a perfect “national implications” template into which the media can plug even less problematic comments of any Republican on the trail.

And, again, you know what I still haven’t heard a lot about in the national media? The war on women waged by Ohio Democrat Charlie Wilson, with his fists.

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ANd I say this as someone who has been saying for at least the last two months the polls are wrong. The topline numbers do not support the rest of the story underneath.

Sorry – I still like Romney 330 – 210ish. I don’t know how you lose that many subsets and lose the overall vote by that large of a percentage and still pick off enough EV to pull it out.

Zomcon JEM on October 24, 2012 at 4:49 PM

No way in the world Obama is winning with those splits. To be losing men by 14 points and only winning women by 8?

NO CHANCE. That doesn’t mean stop fighting and don’t vote, but NO CHANCE.

MobileVideoEngineer on October 24, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Unless women make up 53% of the electorate or more, Romney wins with those splits.

OK, guys, if your wife / significant other is a liberal, don’t drive her to the polls!

Steve Z on October 24, 2012 at 4:56 PM

wargamer6 on October 24, 2012 at 4:43 PM

He truly believes that Obama is going to get higher turnout this year even though he has a record and, somehow, Romney is going to have lower turnout than McLame…and that’s AFTER THE MASSIVE 2010 BY-ELECTIONS.

I will state this UNEQUIVOCALLY: IF Obama wins reelection, he will be the first President elected with fewer EVs and by a slimmer margin than any president since Woodrow Wilson (and may actually beat – lose? – Wilson’s dismal record). All second term Presidents are lameducks in many ways, but Wilson was especially so. He ran on the slogan “He kept us out of the war!” and, of course, got the US into WWI 5 months after the election. He never would have won reelection had he told the truth. His second term went down (into tyranny and failure) from there. The author of the 14 Points and the Father of the League of Nations couldn’t even get his own country to become a member. The country HATED him, his ideas, and Progressivism. It was with a sigh of relief that many greeted the news of his debilitating stroke.

Obama will NOT have a mandate. He will be forced to make many decisions and cuts that will infuriate his base. Yes, he will get to raise taxes on the “evil rich.” Big deal. Assuming that they do not change their behaviour — and tax policy does impact human behaviour — he will raise less than $100 billion from his tax rises. OK. So, he still has more than $1 trillion in deficits per year. Where’s he going to cut…other than the military? The House isn’t going to permit all of the cuts be to the military. He’s going to have to cut social programmes.

We also KNOW that his economic policies will NOT turn around the economy.

I don’t know. If I were him, I might think that I could win by losing. Make the Republicans be the bad guy and hope that Harry can stop the repeal of Obamacare.

Resist We Much on October 24, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Gumby ran away again. Anyone surprised?

wargamer6 on October 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Oy to the freakin VEH. Was this interestingly timed Gallup disclosure designed to get men and women sniping away at each other 2 weeks before the election?

Go away, little pollster.

J.E. Dyer on October 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM

wargamer6 on October 24, 2012 at 4:21 PM

What does it take to ban this little fool form this site? The issue is not that he is only a stupid liberal troll and the most annoying of them all he is also a huge liar and very dishonest person… This little f*** claims that he is a conservative and voting for Romney… Not only that he lies so brazenly but he insults our intelligence…

mnjg on October 24, 2012 at 4:29 PM

..just IGNORE ALL of his bleatings and he will dry up, blow away, and go back the comforting arms of his Guatemalan pool-boy live-in lover.

Seriously, just to not take the bait.

The War Planner on October 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM

I can’t imagine why men wouldn’t think President Obama is speaking to them.

I heard him loud and clear. Being the racists teabagging bitter clinger that 0 figures me to be. I thought I would wait to reply on Nov 6th.

Bmore on October 24, 2012 at 5:03 PM

When it comes down to voting women will vote for Romney. Most women are not stupid or one issue voters.

Romney 356/182 EV, 55/44 popular.
Senate R 55/45.
HOR picks up 17 more R seats.

2010, contrary to popular MSM propagandists, did happen.

jukin3 on October 24, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Gumby ran away again. Anyone surprised?

wargamer6 on October 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM

End of his paid shift, no doubt.

rayra on October 24, 2012 at 8:01 PM

I think we can all agree, in retrospect, that women’s suffrage was a bad idea.

Just kidding. Mostly.

Jingo95 on October 24, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Contrary to Democrat campaign slogans, I will NOT be voting with my lady parts, I will be voting with my brain. Crashing the economy and destroying jobs does NOT help women. Driving food prices and gas prices sky high does NOT help women. Spending the next generation into poverty does not help my daughters.

Socialism is slavery for EVERYONE.

bitsy on October 24, 2012 at 11:10 PM