Obama and Romney go head to head for women’s vote
Barack Obama’s lead in the women’s vote has narrowed this week, with polls showing he and Romney as head to head.
Obama previously led the Associated Press and GFK poll (AP-GfK) by 16 points.
The two candidates are now at 47 points each with the same poll showing Romney set to win the election outright (47-45).
The news comes as critics attack the Republican Party for its continued controversial comments on rape.
Senate candidate Richard Mourdock exacerbated the situation when he said last week ”even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Obama’s team have tried desperately to capitalise on such inflammatory statements when courting the women’s vote.
The Democratic Party know the power of the women’s vote more than anyone else; after all women voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008 and contributed to his successful bid for the White House.
The Obama/Biden campaign beat John McCain by a mere one per cent in the men’s vote; whereas women were decisive in voting for Obama 13 per cent more than they voted for McCain.
It is no surprise then that Obama’s team have recently stepped up their efforts to convince American women to vote Democrat.
The President received the endorsement of high-profile actors Scarlett Johannson, Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington in a video funded by MoveOn.org.
Girls creator Lena Dunham also recorded her support for the Democratic Candidate on video, citing health care reforms, birth control and the President’s support of gay marriage among her reasons.
The tongue in cheek advert compared voting for the first time to losing your virginity, a move that outraged more conservative Americans.
Obama representatives even used the President’s Twitter account to attack Republican policies this week, tweeting:
“FACT: Rep. Steve King, who Romney called a ‘partner in Washington,’ said he’s never heard of anyone getting pregnant from statutory rape.”
And “FACT: Romney would take away a woman’s right to choose and even said he’d be ‘delighted’ to sign a bill banning all abortions.”
Obama definitely has the more progressive stance on women’s rights.
Romney plans to cut funding to Planned Parenthood and wants to over-turn Roe vs Wade, the 1973 court ruling that gave US women a constitutional right to abortion.
Romney also supports the Blunt amendment which allows employers to refuse health insurance, and therefore contraception, because of their moral convictions.
He refused to state his position on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, leaving women unsure on his position on equal pay for women in the workplace.
Of course, it is not only so-called ‘women’s issues’ that decide the way the female electorate will vote, and Obama could be misplaced in thinking so.
Romney’s team have focused on economic arguments in their bid to win over the female demographic.
“There are three-and-a-half million more women living in poverty today than when the president took office” Romney argued during the second presidential debate.
In the heated town hall debate Romney claimed that over the last four years “women have lost 580,000 jobs.”
CNN fact-checked this claim and discovered that although he was mistaken, the real statistic–283,000 net job loss for women–is still a significant number.
The Republican candidate also took a more moderate stance on foreign policy in the final debate, according to some this was to appeal to women voters.
One study showed that of the 2.6 million jobs created since the recession ended, 80% have gone to men.
So if women vote with their wallets the President’s campaign could be in trouble .
Pollster Celinda Lake, a Democrat, believes that Romney’s tactics could have worked.
She told USA Today, “women went into the debate actively disliking Romney, and they came out thinking he might understand their lives and might be able to get something done for them.”
A Gallup poll from 17 October seems to suggest that American women do in fact have ‘gender specific priorities’ that overwhelmingly dictate their vote.
When asked what they believed was the most important issue for women 19 per cent said jobs, 18 per cent said healthcare, but a much larger 39 per cent said abortion was the most significant issue effecting female voters.
Of course, polls are often inaccurate in their predictions. Among registered female voters, the Gallup poll shows a nine point lead for Obama.
Obama’s team are confident they will women the women’s vote and the election too. His top political adviser, David Axelrod, said ”We feel strongly that we have the winning hand.”
Ultimately, the women of America will decide who to vote for on November 6.
If 2008 is anything to go by, women also have a good chance of deciding who the next President of the United States will be.