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Obama’s popularity among US women on the rise

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Karen Whiteley
WVoN co-editor 

According to a recent survey, President Obama is becoming more popular among women voters.

Obama’s overall approval rating among this vital demographic stands at 53% this month after dropping to 43% at the end of last year, according to a recent Associated Press/GfK poll.

Obama’s approval ratings among the general public have also risen following signs that the US economy is starting to emerge from recession.  The poll suggested women are giving Obama more credit than men are for the economic upturn.

For women voters, it’s also thought that the current debates on abortion and access to contraception among Republican presidential candidates are turning them towards Obama.

Whilst abortion has long been a hot topic in the States, candidates such as Rick Santorum, have raised the idea that even birth control is ‘harmful’ to society and to women.

Republicans also supported the protests by religious groups against a requirement in Obama’s healthcare bill that religiously affiliated institutions, in line with all other employers, give full contraception insurance coverage for female employees.

Patricia Speyerer, 87, of Mississippi, a GOP-leaning independent said, ‘Republicans are making a big mistake with this contraception talk, and I’m pretty sure that they are giving [the election] to Obama. It’s a stupid thing.’

Linda Young, president of the National Women’s Political Caucus, which favors abortion rights, would agree, ‘Women are used to making decisions and running their lives,’ she said.

‘To hear their right to contraception questioned in 2012 is shocking, and it’s gotten a lot of people’s attention.’

In the face of the protests, Obama proposed a compromise that would allow religious organisations to opt out of providing insurance coverage that would include birth control for women, but force insurers to provide such coverage instead.

It was feared that the backdown would alienate female Democrats, but the latest figures suggest this hasn’t been the case.

For Obama’s chances of re-election, women are crucial. They vote in larger numbers than men in presidential elections, and more women identify as Democrat than Republican.

He would not even be a president today had he not been more popular than the Republican Senator John McCain among women voters in 2008. The Republicans would need to win more than 40% of female voters in order to beat him.

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