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Women voters are traditionally a stronghold for Democrats, but a recent CBS/New York Times poll showed that Republican Mitt Romney has surpassed President Obama when it comes to support from women. Just last month, a CNN poll showed Romney trailing Obama among women by a whopping 16 percent, and there was much crowing by Democrats that the so-called GOP “war on women” was hurting Romney. Fast forward one month and the tables have been turned on President Obama and his fellow Democrats.
Theories abound as to why Romney is gaining -- and Obama is losing -- support among women. Could it be that Obama’s declaration of support for gay marriage came off as nothing more that a political stunt designed to open up untapped campaign cash spigots? Might Romney’s strict message discipline be paying off with increased pressure on President Obama to account for his handling (and many would say mishandling) of the economy? Is the Democrat-manufactured “war on women” meme wearing thin among the female electorate? Yes, yes, and yes.
President Obama’s personal endorsement of gay marriage monopolized media coverage last week, but is it an issue that resonates with women voters? As with any social issue like this, some women are galvanized, some are not. But it is the thinly veiled political motives behind Obama’s announcement that might not sit well with women voters. With a staggering 324,000 women dropping out of the work force over the last two months, should not the President’s attention be on addressing this worrisome statistic and not on securing reinforcements for his campaign coffers?
Romney, meanwhile, has kept his message steadfastly focused on the economy. With polls showing that Americans are overwhelmingly most concerned about jobs and the deficit, Romney has wisely kept the conversation on those topics. The immediate impact of rising gas and grocery prices is a difficult thing for the average voter to overlook.
Then there’s the tiresome “war on women” drum being beaten relentlessly by Democrats. With a less-than-stellar economic record to run on, Democrats are resorting to demagoguery, using distortions and mistruths to scare women. Mitt Romney’s sudden and increasing popularity with women means one thing: It’s not only not working, it’s backfiring big time.
Strangely, women on the left also seem hell bent on reigniting the “mommy wars.” When Democrat strategist Hilary Rosen proclaimed that stay-at-home-mother-to-five-boys Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life”, there was much-deserved blowback from women who are tired of this nonsense. Instead of acknowledging that attacks on motherhood are political suicide, however, liberal women are doubling down on this kind of messaging, with author and MSNBC contributor Michelle Goldberg likening Mrs. Romney’s pro-motherhood Mother’s Day message to Hitler and Stalin.
With messages like that, is it any wonder that the left finds its support among women eroding? Democrats would do well to revisit 1992 and James Carville’s famous entreaty: “It’s the economy, stupid.” It’s all about the economy in 2012, as well, and women will well-remember the attempts to distract from this as they make their way to the voting booth this November. Democrats are losing women and they have only themselves to blame.
Teri Christoph is the co-founder of Smart Girl Politics, a non-profit organization for conservative women, and co-chair of She-PAC, a hybrid PAC supporting conservative women candidates. Follow her on Twitter: @TeriChristoph.