Thursday, September 13, 2012

Winning women

The campaign 

Battle of the sexes 

The tussle for women’s votes is a defining feature of the election race 

Sep 15th 2012 | CHICAGO | from the print edition

THE signs of battle have been apparent for much of the year. First, a flurry when a candidate’s wife was described as having “never worked a day in her life”; then a storm when a student was called a “slut” for saying her health-care plan should include free contraception; and finally the arrival of new phrases in the political lexicon such as “legitimate rape” and “mandatory transvaginal ultrasound”.

In some ways the bitter battle over women voters should come as no surprise. In 2008 Barack Obama won the female vote by 13 points (56%-43%). His opponent this time round, Mitt Romney, needs to do much better than John McCain if he wants to win. Women outnumber men at the polls (by 10m at the last election), turn out to vote in higher percentages (60% versus 56% in 2008), and tend to vote Democratic. Mr Obama’s comfortable edge with women is still apparent, but looks a bit weaker now (53%-43%, according to our YouGov poll). Moreover, Mr Romney’s edge with men is eroding either all, or most, of this lead, depending on the poll. [More...]