Romney erases Obama lead among women in latest poll

2012-10-25T13:47:00Z Romney erases Obama lead among women in latest pollThe Associated Press The Associated Press
October 25, 2012 1:47 pm  • 

WASHINGTON — What gender gap?

Less than two weeks out from Election Day, Republican Mitt Romney has erased President Barack Obama’s 16-point advantage among women, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows. And the president, in turn, has largely eliminated Romney’s edge among men.

Those churning gender dynamics leave the presidential race still a virtual dead heat, with Romney favored by 47 percent of likely voters and Obama by 45 percent, a result within the poll’s margin of sampling error, the survey shows.

After a commanding first debate performance and a generally good month, Romney has gained ground with Americans on a number of important fronts, including their confidence in how he would handle the economy and their impressions of his ability to understand their problems.

At the same time, expectations that Obama will be re-elected have slipped: Half of voters now expect the president to win a second term, down from 55 percent a month earlier.

For all of the good news for Republicans, however, what matters most in the election endgame is Romney’s standing in the handful of states whose electoral votes still are up for grabs. And polls in a number of those battleground states still appear to favor Obama.

As the election nears, Romney has been playing down social issues and trying to project a more moderate stance on matters such as abortion in an effort to court female voters. The AP-GfK poll, taken Friday through Tuesday, shows Romney pulling even with Obama among women at 47-47 after lagging by 16 points a month earlier.

But now his campaign is grappling with the fallout from a comment by a Romney-endorsed Senate candidate in Indiana, who said that when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape “that’s something God intended.’’

Romney quickly distanced himself from the remark by Republican Richard Mourdock. But Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the incident was “a reminder that a Republican Congress working with a Republican President Mitt Romney would feel that women should not be able to make choices about their own health care.’’

A renewed focus on social issues would be an unwelcome development for Romney: Among female likely voters, 55 percent say Obama would make the right decisions on women’s issues, compared with 41 percent who think Romney would.

Romney’s pitch to women has been focused squarely on the economy, making the case that what women want most is to ensure their families and their country are on a solid financial footing. The poll shows that message appears to be taking root.

A month ago, women favored Obama over Romney on the economy 56 percent to 40 percent. Now, the split has shifted to 49 percent for Romney and 45 percent for Obama.

Similarly, Obama’s lead among women as the candidate who better understands the people’s problems has narrowed considerably, from a 58-36 Obama advantage last month to a 50-43 Obama edge now.

Monica Jensen, a 55-year-old independent from Mobile, Ala., says she voted for Obama in 2008 but will shift her vote to Romney this time, largely because of the economy.

“I’m ready for a change,’’ she said. “I want to see the economy go in a different direction.’’

Ginny Lewis, a Democrat and 72-year-old retired district attorney from Princeton, Ky., says she’ll vote for Romney because “I’m tired of the Republicans blaming all the debt on Democrats, so let them take over and see what they do.’’

Not that she’s optimistic about how that will turn out, though. “I think things will get worse before they get better,’’ she said.

Lindsey Hornbaker, a 25-year-old graduate student and nanny, hasn’t been swayed by Romney’s charm offensive.

Hornbaker, interviewed Wednesday in Davenport, Iowa, where she was attending an Obama rally, said Romney can tweak his tone but not what she sees as a record focused far more on top income earners and out of touch with most working families.

“I heard him go out of his way to sound so moderate during the debate,’’ she said. “And I thought: ‘Who is this? Where did this come from?’ He may sound like he’s focused on the middle class. But where’s the record?’’

Obama, meanwhile, has been working to shore up his support among men, who tend to be more Republican than women. In the 2008 election, men broke 49 percent for Obama to 48 percent for John McCain, even though Obama got 53 percent of the vote overall. The president’s job approval ratings among men have tended to fall below his ratings among women throughout his first term.

A month ago, Romney’s advantage among men was 13 percentage points. Now, it’s down to 5 points, with most of the shift toward Obama coming among unmarried men.

Obama’s election chances hinge on turning out voters like Jon Gerton, a disabled construction worker from Jonesboro, Ark. Gerton’s a staunch Obama supporter — but he didn’t vote in 2008.

“It takes longer than four years to get things to the point where things are going better,’’ Gerton said. “Four years, it’s not very long.’’

There has been a gender gap in every presidential election since 1980. In 2008, women were 7 percentage points more likely than men to vote for Obama.

Overall, people are significantly more optimistic about the economy and unemployment in the coming year than they have been at any point in AP-GfK polling going back to March 2011, when the poll first started asking those questions. And likely voters are even more optimistic than other adults.

Nearly six in 10 likely voters think the economy will improve in the next year, up from 46 percent last month. And 42 percent think the number of unemployed Americans will drop in the next year, up from 32 percent in September.

Count Chrysta Walker, of Cedar Lake, Ind., among the voters who are sticking with Obama because they think he’s got the right solutions for the fragile economy.

“He’s got the middle class at heart,’’ says the 58-year-old Walker. On the economy, she says, Obama “did as well as could be expected because he didn’t get a lot of cooperation.’’

David Bierwirth, who owns an autograph sales business in Las Vegas, turned out at a Romney rally in Henderson this week to show his support for the GOP nominee. To Bierwirth, his vote for Romney is all about the economy.

“I want people back to work,’’ he says, “because then they will buy my products.’’

The Associated Press-GfK poll was conducted Oct. 19-23 by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,186 adults nationwide, including 839 likely voters. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points; for likely voters it is 4.2 points.

AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius and Stacy A. Anderson in Washington, Thomas Beaumont in Davenport, Iowa, and Ken Ritter in Henderson, Nev., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(14) Comments

  1. Report Abuse
    - October 27, 2012 1:25 pm
    Ronald Regan never had the House and Senate and seemed to be able to get things done. So, before you start running your mouth about how bad Regan was, remember he worked with Tip O'Neil all eight years.

    The two party system is broken and is breaking this country. The right leader(s) can fix things.
  2. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - October 27, 2012 9:25 am
    Unfounded = unfunded plus the iPad spell editor
  3. SRLaBelle
    Report Abuse
    SRLaBelle - October 27, 2012 9:24 am
    I think that we are headed for a debt crisis-inflation spiral reality over the next decade or two.
    It really doesn't matter which party is in control.
    Check out the 2012 proposed budgets from the White house and the Congess.
    A steely eyed congress suggested a deficit of 997 billion.. while the white house suggested just upwards of 1.1 billion. The actual deficit (with off budget war spend) was 1.327 billion.
    Any clear picture of,the actual budget would also have to include the half trillion plus in federal reserve easing (imaginary money sprinkled on the stew),,
    Add it all up and you have almost $6,000 of borrowed or printed money for each man, woman and child in the country.
    It's unsustainable but no politician has the balls to stop it... When you ad in the $60 trillion in unfounded future liabilities the picture becomes even more bleak.
    The way forward will not be wing on wing with following seas... It will be more like an open boat in the roaring forties.
  4. Will Opine
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    Will Opine - October 26, 2012 6:48 pm
    Accusations? Nope ,facts. If you bother to get informed by more than MSNBC and Comedy Central,you might know that. The consulate had had multiple attacks before the 9-11 attack. Enough so that the Brits closed theirs. Obama, and Biden, were informed of the attack as it was happening,and didn't send help.
    The fighting went on for more than four hours -- enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive.
    And Obama and his administration have been spreading malarky[that's Irish] ever since.
    So use your own common sense,and see the facts that will come out conveniently after the election
    Obama did put more effort into saving Big Bird the 4 Americans that died in Benghazi.

  5. EC-Reader
    Report Abuse
    EC-Reader - October 26, 2012 11:36 am
    The most likely scenario is more gridlock. Democrats are likely to keep the senate. Republicans are likely to keep the house. Unless they can work together, nothing will change regardless who is president.
  6. ChippewaFallsWisconsin
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    ChippewaFallsWisconsin - October 26, 2012 10:26 am
    Those are some pretty strong accusations, with nothing to back them up. Do you know anything about american security? If Obama would release all of their intelligence, that would give the bad people the plans on what we are doing. A kindergartner would know that. Would you rather know everything that we are doing so the terrorists know what we're doing, or would you rather not get the full truth and keep our citizens safe? Use common sense. And on that note, facts show that Bush knew about the impending trade center attacks, he knew about it and did nothing because he thought it was a false claim. Because of that, we all are hurting and are in fear around the world. Is that alright? What did Obama do that would cause him to be arrested? Did he kill those people? If he would have sent more security there, would that have stopped the attacks? No, they still would have attacked. But I suppose Romney will just send more jobs over there so they will be happy.
  7. hammspsp
    Report Abuse
    hammspsp - October 26, 2012 10:09 am
    It is most likely your computer and not the website.
  8. Interesting
    Report Abuse
    Interesting - October 26, 2012 8:44 am
    This is a close race and whoever wins isn't going to have a mandate for anything. That said, polls are pretty much useless since most younger voters don't even have a landline and operate solely off their cell phones.
  9. empire 2
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    empire 2 - October 25, 2012 9:28 pm
    dregstudios, what kool-aid are you drinking?The far right demonizing Obama? The ENTIRE news network questioning his citizenship? The lame stream media has been kissing his behind for four years!!! If you want to hear demonizing listen to that idiot Schulz on MSNBC, I think he will have a stroke if Romney wins. I assume you wanted to show you weren't a racist in 2008 so you voted for Obama, to show you aren't an idiot now, vote for Romney.
  10. Sand-Blaster
    Report Abuse
    Sand-Blaster - October 25, 2012 3:49 pm
    This website is infected with spyware/malware/adware... When trying to left/back arrow to previous page, I cannot! When Right clicking on left/back arrow, ... is checked.
  11. Will Opine
    Report Abuse
    Will Opine - October 25, 2012 3:16 pm
    Bluehillsmike, keep in mind that President Obama put more effort into saving Big Bird than he did into saving the 4 Americans that died in Benghazi.
  12. Report Abuse
    - October 25, 2012 2:41 pm
    Taking into account how many of these "polls" were either wrong or not very close two years ago with the mid-term elections, along with how far off they were with the Walker/Barrett round 2, does anyone really pay attention to these polls?

  13. bluehillsmike
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    bluehillsmike - October 25, 2012 2:30 pm
    dreg, what inhalents have you been sniffing? For the last four years Obama has been ruining this great land and the party is over for him. The media has carried his water and created a false Romney image--that was shattered at the first debate when the entire Country saw Obama for the empty suit he is. Hey AP--why aren't you reporting on Benghazi--a scandal that makes Watergate look like a child's lollipop being taken away in comparison. Americans died--and Obama and Hilary (and Jay and Ax and Rice and the entire media except Fox and the blogosphere) lied. Shameful. Obama deserves arrest and trial, not another term.
  14. dregstudios
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    dregstudios - October 25, 2012 2:10 pm
    If Obama loses the election, you can blame/thank Wall Street for bamboozling him. How is it right that an entire news network questions the President’s citizenship for four years to create doubt in voters while a fringe element of the far right demonizes and degrades him? Most of this is financed by the rich who want to keep their stranglehold on the flow of wealth in our country. Watch the white hands apply the Blackface to our first African-American President at
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