Women make up a majority—53 percent—of the national electorate, and are key to any Democrat’s path to the White House. In 2008, while Obama won the election by 7 points, his winning margin among women was 13. In Ohio, the picture was similar: women make up 52% of the electorate and went for Obama over McCain by 8 points.
Because of the importance of winning the women’s vote, we will be monitoring available polling in Ohio to see how this important demographic is feeling about the candidates. We posted earlier this month that the President was improving his standing among this key demographic compared to his chief rival, Mitt Romney.
A poll was released today that shows the trend continuing. Quinnipiac surveyed Ohio voters and found that women prefer President Obama over Mitt Romney by a whopping 14 points, up from a 10 point margin just a month ago, and 6 points better than Obama’s winning margin over McCain:
Two things have been happening in the past three months. First, the GOP primary contests have begun, with high-profile coverage of the race to become the nominee dominating the news since Iowa went to the polls in early January. All this media coverage has helped introduce Mitt Romney to the electorate. At the same time, issues of reproductive rights and women’s health have been placed front and center in the national debate, with Romney and Obama taking strikingly different positions.
How does this play out?
Women in Ohio are starting to dislike Romney more and more, and dislike the President less and less:
Are women changing their opinions because they only care about contraception, and Romney has threatened to end funding for Planned Parenthood and supports Personhood for fertilized eggs?
Not exactly. Quinnipiac’s polling did find that 59 percent of Ohio women say that women’s reproductive health will be “extremely” or “very” important in selecting a President, compared to 38 percent of men. But it’s not their top issue.
Far more Ohio women—90 percent!—rank the economy as a an extremely or very important issue when deciding whom they will support for President. And who do Ohio women think will do a better job on the economy? Barack Obama. By a growing margin (click for larger view):
Remember, the economy is supposed to be former CEO and Wall Street financier Mitt Romney’s key selling point. And Ohio’s largest voting block, in growing numbers, think he would be worse than the sitting President on the issue. That has to make Romney’s people more than a little nervous.
Note: If you’re interested in viewing these and other crosstabs from the Quinnipiac poll, they can be found here.