If there’s one consistent strategy Barack Obama’s reelection campaign has pursued, it’s trying to mobilize women on his behalf with rallying cries of free birth control. His tactics have ranged from declaring a literal ‘war on women,’ to evangelizing Hollywood actresses like Scarlett Johansson to blanketing television with ads admonishing women to be ‘scared’ of Mitt Romney.Initially, it looked like Team Obama’s relentless assault might pay off, as women – who broke for the President by 13 percent in 2008 – continued to line up behind him in early polling. However, the latest USA Today/Gallup survey, released Monday, shows that his strategy of telling women which issues they are and are not supposed to care about is meeting with diminishing returns, as Mitt Romney pulls even with Obama among women in the swing states likely to decide the election:
As the presidential campaign heads into its final weeks, the survey of voters in 12 crucial swing states finds female voters much more engaged in the election and increasingly concerned about the deficit and debt issues that favor Romney. The Republican nominee has pulled within one point of the president among women who are likely voters, 48%-49%, and leads by 8 points among men.
Several months ago, I wrote that Chicago’s strategy of forcing women to be single-issue voters, telling them in ad after ad that they should base their vote solely on access to contraceptives and abortion, could easily backfire as issue-based surveys showed that women – like any other voters – consistently named jobs and the economy as the most important issues in this election. I’m relieved – but not surprised – to see that women are rejecting self-important lectures from out-of-touch celebrities in favor of a candidate who addresses them like fellow citizens and discerning voters, not the gals of Sex and the City.