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Posted by on Feb 25, 2012 in At TMV | 4 comments

What Women Don’t Know About Rick Santorum Helps Him



WASHINGTON – The Washington Post had an amusing poll on Rick Santorum and women on Friday. I hope Republican primary voters buy into it.

But in fact, Santorum has grown more popular among women while talking about his opposition to abortion, his disapproval of birth control and his view that the federal government shouldn’t pay for prenatal screenings. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows not only that Santorum is doing better among GOP women than he was a few weeks ago, but also that he is less unpopular — and also less well known — among Democratic and independent women than his Republican rivals Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Voters and political strategists alike say Santorum’s rise has less to do with his views on these issues than on his ability to relate to the daily struggles of the middle class.

Rick Santorum’s plus is that he’s honest about his extreme views, with his “I’m a guy from a steel town” economic patter sounding far more fair than the other GOP primary candidates. But come on, that’s not very hard to do.

Women detest Newt Gingrich, with Mitt Romney wholly untrustworthy at this point, after being eviscerated by his opponents, with the scrutiny of Mr. Romney’s changing positions devastating to his brand. However, it’s Romney’s impossibly inauthentic persona that hurts him most when compared to Rick Santorum.

However, nobody has even begun chipping away at Rick Santorum’s views, what he’s said and how hostile he is to modern women, but also the plight of women of new generations. But will Rick Santorum ever be as disliked by women as Newt Gingrich? Not a chance, however, he’ll be very scary when his social views are stripped down to 30-second ads.

Santorum’s real problem, as we saw in the debate this week, is that when he gets the spotlight he withers.

In a general election, Rick Santorum would need Gen. David Petraeus to fend off a 50-state shellacking, but he’s pretty busy over at the C.I.A.

This is a prime example of why polling is a snap shot, but not a predictor of what will eventually develop. Most Republicans would vote for the GOP candidate in November over Obama, no matter who he is. However, suburban Republican women will be very skeptical once team Obama starts using Santorum’s words against him in 30-second ads, with Independents running for the hills or not voting at all.

Taylor Marsh is the author of the new book, The Hillary Effect – Politics, Sexism and the Destiny of Loss, which is now available in print on Amazon. Marsh is a veteran political analyst and commentator. She has been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her new media blog.