Obama's diminished standing with women is hurting Senate Democrats

In battleground states across the country, Obama is underwater with female voters — especially women unaffiliated with a political party — and it’s making it harder for Democrats to take advantage of the gender gap, according to public polling and Democratic strategists.

Already Democrats are taking a beating from men, who back Republicans over Democrats by double digits in most of the key Senate races. But to overcome that deficit, Democrats need to win over female voters by a wider margin in battleground states like Colorado, Iowa, Alaska, North Carolina and New Hampshire. That task that will be the primary focus of Democratic campaigns as they prepare an intensive voter-turnout operation.

First, they must overcome the Obama factor. After defeating Mitt Romney by 11 points among women in 2012, the president has seen his approval rating drop sharply with females, particularly in the battleground states.

In Alaska, for instance, Obama lost soundly in 2008 and 2012. But he’s only gone downhill from there, especially among female voters, only 29 percent of whom give him high marks.