USA Today/Gallup Poll: Swing States Poll: Women push Romney into lead
Does President Barack Obama have a “firewall” in swing states? Some pollsters and analysts say yes — but the latest USA Today/Gallup Swing States poll suggests that if its a fire wall that must mean flames are flickering inside. One reason for the Romney surge: he’s peeling off Obama’s advantage with women.
Mitt Romney leads President Obama by five percentage points among likely voters in the nation’s top battlegrounds, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and he has growing enthusiasm among women to thank.
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 now ties the president among women who are likely voters, 48%-48%, while he leads by 12 points among men.
The battle for women, which was apparent in the speakers spotlighted at both political conventions this summer, is likely to help define messages the candidates deliver at the presidential debate Tuesday night and in the TV ads they air during the final 21 days of the campaign. As a group, women tend to start paying attention to election contests later and remain more open to persuasion by the candidates and their ads.
That makes women, especially blue-collar “waitress moms” whose families have been hard-hit by the nation’s economic woes, the quintessential swing voters in 2012’s close race.
“In every poll, we’ve seen a major surge among women in favorability for Romney” since his strong performance in the first debate, veteran Democratic pollster Celinda Lake says. “Women went into the debate actively disliking Romney, and they came out thinking he might understand their lives and might be able to get something done for them.”
While Lake believes Obama retains an edge among women voters, the changed views of Romney could be “a precursor to movement” to the Republican candidate, she says. “It opens them up to take a second look, and that’s the danger for Obama.”
Female voters are a critical part of the president’s coalition. Four years ago, he led Republican rival John McCain by a single point among men, according to surveys of voters as they left polling places. The decisive Democratic margin of victory came from women, who supported Obama by 13 points.
Now, the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows Romney leading Obama 51%-46% among likely voters in the swing states. Men who are likely voters back him 54%-42%. The states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
And — of course — each political side has their
analysis spin on this.
Romney pollster Neil Newhouse says the poll shows “encouraging movement” in the wake of the first debate in Denver. Obama pollster Joel Benenson calls the method used to identify likely voters flawed.
“In the last election, Gallup’s registered voter model — not its likely voter model — was a much more accurate predictor, with their likely model missing the mark in 2010 by 9 points right before the election,” Benenson says. “That explains why Gallup’s results are way out of line with a dozen recent swing state polls that show the president with a double-digit lead among women.”
Among all registered voters in the survey, Obama leads by nine points among women and by two points overall, 49%-47%.