Although polls don’t find differences between men and women on what everyone calls “women’s issues,” they do find differences on policy issues we don’t usually consider in terms of gender. Women are more liberal on health care, on defense spending and on anti-poverty programs. A smarter approach to abortion, however necessary for Republicans, won’t change that.

The common theme here is that the current Republican economic message isn’t very compelling to any of these groups. If Republicans addressed that problem, they would find their numbers improving in all of these groups, and outside them too. White, working-class voters, who supported Romney for president but seem to have had low turnout, might have shown up in greater numbers if Republicans had retooled on economics.

Men and women, whites and Hispanics, the young and the middle-aged: All of them want politicians to offer a practical agenda to create jobs, raise wages, and make health care and higher education more affordable. Most of them aren’t wedded to liberal answers on those issues. They will take them over nothing, and that’s what Republicans have been giving them.

Republicans are unlikely to return to majority status, or even keep their current strength, unless they do better. Looking at voters in categories of race, sex and age won’t help them do that.