It seems like every poll tells the same story: “Big lead with women gives Obama an edge on Romney.” Republicans are losing women, the narrative goes. OK, so women are more likely to favor Obama at this point than Romney — but men are more likely to favor Romney than Obama and you never hear Democrats fretting that Obama is losing men.
As Dick Morris explains in this video, the so-called gender gap between Romney and Obama is actually nothing new. Republicans have been more likely to lead among men and Democrats have been more likely to lead among women since about the time of Roe v. Wade. Morris notes that, in the latest Rasmussen poll, Obama runs 12 points better than Romney among women — just as, in 2008, he ran 12 points better than McCain among women. But McCain lost, you say? According to Morris, the Democratic candidate almost always runs 12 points better than the Republican among women.
What’s different — and, really, what’s very bold, given its settled status in their favor — is that Democrats are trying to make gender politics new again. If anything, their “war on women” rhetoric has just created an opening for Republicans to win over women whose votes they’ve never had.
To be sure, that’s not really happening. As Kirsten Powers reported in her column this week, unmarried women — who briefly flirted with the GOP in 2010 — are again attracted to the Democratic Party. So far, Romney’s strategy in the women wars — with a couple exceptions — has been to appropriate liberal language and positions for himself. But as Heather MacDonald writes, if core truths — especially of the economic variety — don’t win women’s votes, they’re not worth it. I’d add to MacDonald’s observation that core truths of the cultural variety can yet touch women, as well. Some women evidently identify a support for abortion with concern for women (why else have the Dems won women since Roe v. Wade?) — but younger generations are increasingly pro-life and that’s true of younger women, too. Romney doesn’t need to worry about losing women who’ve always voted Democrat; he should be cheering at the chance to win over relatively new female voters whose loyalties haven’t solidified yet.
Click the image to watch.