The gender gap doesn't matter -- and it never has

A big part of the reason why the gender gap looks so much more promising for the Dems than it turns out to be is that 2 or more points of that advantage are actually attributable to race. African-American women vote in larger numbers than African-American men do; the women’s vote is simply blacker than the men’s. But the pundits have already counted the race advantage in their forecasts. So piling talk of the gender gap on top of race is, well, double dipping. In electoral terms, the only gender gap that matters is between white men and women, the largest segment of the actual electorate. In one of the latest big polls, Obama’s support among white women is down a couple of points since 2008, from 46 percent to 44 percent. But he’s down among white men by 9 percentage points, falling from 41 percent against John McCain to 32 percent against Mitt Romney. (A second, recent poll from AP denies any gap, but that appears to be a radical outlier at the moment.) It looks like a gender gap, all right, but not one that helps the president. Forget the ladies. If Obama can’t stanch the bleeding among white men, no Florence Nightingale is coming to bind up the wound.

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