Revenge of the Soccer Moms: Why Are Women Abandoning Obama?
By Molly Ball, The Atlantic | National Journal
Oct 20, 2012
CHANTILLY, Virginia -- Remember the War on Women?
A few months ago, it seemed like the battle for women's votes was one Democrats had decisively won. While (male) Republican politicians talked about transvaginal ultrasounds, legitimate rape and the like, Democrats laughed all the way to the bank. President Obama's steady double-digit leads with women in poll after poll were a major reason he stayed ahead of Mitt Romney for months on end.
Then suddenly, a couple of weeks ago, Obama's edge with women began to melt away. More than any other group, women have accounted for Romney's surge in the polls, which has now given him a slim lead in the national popular vote and in some calculations of the electoral college. Women, it appeared, were not as firmly ensconced in Obama's camp as they had seemed. Indeed, they were abandoning the president en masse.
The evidence that Obama finds himself bleeding women's votes can be seen in how aggressively his campaign has sought to steer the conversation back to women's issues. Campaigning a few miles from here on Friday, Obama stood at a podium flanked by "Women's Health Security" banners; he was introduced by Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, and spoke against a backdrop of risers filled exclusively with women, holding turquoise "FORWARD." signs.
Meanwhile, the evidence that Romney is desperate to hold on to these voters can be seen in how quickly and defensively he has moved to respond. In a new Romney ad this week, a woman googles the claims Obama has made about Romney's abortion stance, only to find out they're not true. Romney's stated position is that abortion should be allowed in cases of rape and incest and when the woman's life is at stake; he has said he would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Already, the Obama campaign -- which has been airing abortion-themed commercials in swing states since June -- is out with another ad responding to Romney's response on the issue.
The recent fluidity of the women's vote, and the renewed struggle it has sparked, raises a question: Why, at this late hour of the campaign, when the vast majority of voters have made up their minds, are so many women still apparently open to changing their minds? Why was their onetime loyalty to Obama so weak? Will the president's forceful new emphasis on women's issues, particularly reproductive issues, bring them back -- or are they gone for good?...