Poll: Which issue is most important? Men and women split
October 18th, 2012
12:37 PM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Which issue is most important? Men and women split

(CNN) - As the presidential campaigns focus their efforts on women as a key voting bloc, a new poll shows women who are registered to vote in a dozen key states have very different priorities than their male counterparts.

The USA Today/Gallup survey found that economic issues are important to both genders, but women see one issue as more important.

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Nearly four in ten - 39% - of women said abortion is the most important issue in this election, the survey said, while a similar number - 38% - of men ranked jobs as their top issue.

The survey includes voters from the nine battleground states on the CNN Electoral Map, plus an additional three - Michigan, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania - which are close, and considered by the Gallup organization as swing states.

Jobs was the second most important issue to women, scoring at 19%,

Women rated healthcare as more important than men did, 18% to 10%.

Behind healthcare was the economy and equal rights/pay/opportunity, rounding out the top five issues for women. Few women voters rated the other items on the survey - government regulation, education, Medicare, Social Security, and taxes - as their no. 1 issue.

Men, however, rated economic issues as significantly more important. Close behind jobs as a top issue was the economy (at 37%) as well as the federal budget and deficit (at 10%).

Defense, national security, foreign policy, and international affairs also made the men's list but did not rank on the women's list.

The swing state survey found women preferred President Barack Obama to GOP nominee Mitt Romney on birth control policy, unemployment, healthcare, and international issues, while they were split on who would best handle the federal budget deficit. Men also preferred Obama on birth control policy, but preferred Romney on unemployment and the federal budget deficit. Men were split on healthcare and international issues.

The survey was conducted between October 5 and 11 and had a sampling error of plus or minus 4 points. It included 1,023 registered voters in 12 key states reached by telephone.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Scott

    Total federal and state "welfare" spending topped $1 trillion last year, marking a nearly 30 percent increase since the start of the Obama administration - according to a new congressional report which documented spending across more than 80 benefit programs for low-income families

    October 18, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. UBS, WILLARD & THE 4000+ AMERICAN AMNESTY DEAL

    The most important issue is whether we take President Obama's position of ending these wars or Willard The War Mongerer's position of WW4.

    October 18, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Howard

    Obama spent over a TRILLION DOLLARS on welfare in 2011 ... a 30% increase under Obama. We need a President, like Mitt Romney, who will get Americans back to work !!! Romney / Ryan 2012

    October 18, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. gt

    hard to have birth control when you dont have a job to pay for it...

    October 18, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. jake

    Obama has shown true concise attempts to fix the problems created by the gop. You think the gop are better for the direction of this country? Juds take a look at congress with the 18% approval rating they have. gop?...ya right..never again. Obama/Biden 2012

    October 18, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Guest

    The most important issue is getting a new president, the current is lost and incapable on nearly all fronts. The results, rather – lack thereof, speak all too well for themselves. Which is why he attacks instead of defending his policies/record.

    ROMNEY/RYAN 2012!

    October 18, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. REGinAZ

    “Just trust me, I know what to do”, that is what Romney asks and what he offers. That is a whole lot to ask and actually very risky; of course, he depends on faulting Obama for everything just to get people receptive. However Obama has accomplished quite a lot, which is obvious when you put the criticism aside and look at reality. He hasn’t accomplished all we want but then the Republicans have done absolutely nothing and even worse, in just stubbornly blocking and arrogantly faulting all efforts while putting their political ambitions above all else, regardless of the costs to the people. We know where Obama wants to go and what he wants to do but what can we know about Romney?

    Romney’s history, his claim for expertise and his statements all address the financial as his area of credit, so what do we know about him there? At Bain he provided investors with good returns as he cut jobs, used China connections and exploited company assets; actually hurting far more people than he helped. On the personal side we know he is quite wealthy from inherited money, investments and Bain and that he succeeded in using tax loop holes and advantages to pay very low taxes, far lower than most would expect (you have to wonder if he intends to protect those tax loop holes and advantages). As his main offering he declares he is going to cut taxes for everyone and be financially responsible if elected, but what does that mean?

    He says 47% are “freeloaders” and don’t pay taxes, so he isn’t going to do anything for 47% of the people, how about the rest? He claims he will cut taxes by 20% across the board and that will mean a little to most but then he says he is going to close loop holes and cut deductions but won’t say which – mortgage interest? real estate taxes? medical? what? He says he wants all people to be sharing in the burden and you have to wonder if the 47% should worry. He says he will give people better returns on investments and proposes to cut dividend, capital gains, estate, gift, ,, taxes, but while those have real meaning for the very wealthy, 90% would get little or no benefit there and really only the very top would significantly gain. All of this is intended to go on top of the Bush Tax Cuts, which are already heavily weighted, like these, to favor the very wealthy.

    He talks about balancing the budget and proposes cutting programs that he would determine aren’t needed or aren’t doing the job ... but again he won’t say which and while the very wealthy aren’t personally concerned about most government programs, they do mean a whole lot to many others. When Mr. Romney says he “knows what to do”, it once again is to cater to the very wealthy, the 1%, and to con the people, the 99%. His, like Ryan’s, strong supporters are “the money” and they demand their satisfaction as return for their money, power and influence given. Romney-Ryan offer the better than 90% little other than propaganda, as Romney-Ryan are completely committed, again as “puppets”, to serve ‘the money”. To return to “more of the same”, Bush-Cheney style, can only result in “more of the same” which has already cost the country and the majority greatly.

    October 18, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. UBS, WILLARD & THE 4000+ AMERICAN AMNESTY DEAL

    Look no further than Freeport -aka- BAINPORT, Illionois at Sensata to see how Robmey will create jobs.......IN CHINA!!!

    October 18, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Name

    I am better off than I was in 2008, before President Obama took office. I have confidence in his leadership, and the direction he is trying to steer this country.

    Mr President, you will have my vote AGAIN!

    Obama / Biden 2012

    October 18, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Mr President..."Where is the Beef"..?

    Pres Obama...Stumper-inChief's plan for the next 4-years is a offering of "Ridicule & Sarcasm"...."A Binder full of Women"...(candidates)......"The math does not add-up"....ETC....We have yet to see the Obama-campaign's roadmap in detail for the next 4-years....Behind Cadidate-Romney are real People...millions of Americans Obama insults...Soooooo
    we the People are calling you OUT Candidate-Obama......"Where is the Beef"................!

    October 18, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. Ferret out the BS

    Most, but not necessarily all, women do want some control over their healthcare decisions rather than people that are religiously, morally, or politically bent and want to impose their beliefs and philosophy on them.

    October 18, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. B.

    The Republican controlled House is the main issue concerning lack of progress and everyone knows that now.
    The Republicans have had One goal since Obama was elected, make him fail with NO support at all from them.

    We now have seen Historic record high uses of the Filibuster to defeat every single piece of legislation from the Democrats! McConnell made their intentions very clear from the start.

    Also using Grover Norquist to require Congress people sign a pledge to No Taxes, no mater why and what for!
    Who the Hell gave him the right to OWN the Congress and take directions from him?

    What an outrage!

    October 18, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Matthew Williams

    Had the Republicans not block the jobs bill, the President wouldn't have a tight race. People are so misinformed. Romney's top economic advisor are having trouble making the numbers add up for his jobs bill and his tax bill. Remember people, the unemployment rate peaked at 10.2%. It is now 7.8%. Even with no help from congress that is an accomplishment itself that should get him 4 more years.

    October 18, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. MrBeenThere

    There are so many negative things you can say about Mitt, the man who's been running for President for what 8+ years now. Butt I won't waste my breath, time is to precious.............

    Obama 2012

    October 18, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Mitt Romney needs to tell his wife Ann when she sits down with women who ask about women issues, she should answer and not tell them to refer back to him. I'm just saying, WOMEN LIKE TO TALK WOMAN TO WOMAN and Ann did all women a real disservice as well as her husband by not doing so.

    October 18, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. MrBeenThere

    Mitt is 100% correct....... do we want 4 more years of the same, Hell No...............
    Vote Straight Democratic Ticket throw those Republican obstructionist out the door ...........

    Obama 2012

    October 18, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. NC Mom

    He can do lip service about abortion and change his position day to day, but the bottom line is who he would appoint to the court. He would just say it wasn’t his position…it was the courts. This wouldn’t stop abortions but drive people back to the illegal back street coat hanger abortions of the past. Desperate people do desperate things. If anybody thinks that they can’t really stop it, they are ignorant. Let’s at least keep it safe.

    October 18, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Howard

    Do we elect a President (Obama) with zero business experience, who squandered SIX TRILLION of our hard earned tax dollars in the last 4 years ... and lied to us
    about Fast and Furious, and the Libya disaster ... where hundreds of innocents died
    ... only to be covered up by Obama ...
    OR ...
    Do we elect a President (Romney) who had a remarkably successful business career,
    spanning 25 years ... resulting in hundreds of thousands of jobs.

    ANSWER: It's a no brainer ... we should elect Romney !!!

    October 18, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. Pat

    What is the difference between Romney's economic policy and Ronald Reagan's "trickle down economics"? That policy was responsible for huge deficit numbers & across the board unemployment.

    "It's the economy, stupid" was the catch phrase for Bill Clinton, during his 1st election campaign. This was because George Bush, Senior continued Reagan's policy.

    Why hasn't this been a discussion on tv or online?

    October 18, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Al, Lawrence KS

    I always scratch my head at these types of polls. Jobs, the Economy, deficit...these are all interchangable. I mean, for most people Jobs=Economy=Healthcare=Budget.

    October 18, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Lauren

    I can trust Romney as far as I can throw him. Romney lies more than any presidential candidate and he ought to be ashamed of himself. I was so glad to see that the president and Candy Crowley did not let him run away from his record, his policies he's been running on then all the sudden tries to hide in the debates, and the TRUTH.

    TRUTH matters, Mr. Romney. I'm surprised being a man of faith that you lie so shamelessly.

    I am so proud of the president and we're on the right path. We're definitely better off than when Bush left in January of 2009 – losing 800,000 jobs a month. I trust Barack Obama; I feel like he gets me and the middle class as a whole. I feel like I know the guy. Obama understands that unless the middle class is doing well, the country will not prosper. Romney's policies are exactly like Bush's and actually more extreme on social issues. Romney has still not disclosed HOW he would do anything he says he's going to do; he refuses to release any details. That's shameful.

    I believe in Barack Obama and the United States of America. God Bless the USA.

    Obama / Biden 2012

    October 18, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. Strategic Bob

    Claudia, don't you know that Ann Romney is a Mormon wife and, as such, is not allowed to have any ideas other than those her husband tells her to have?

    Mrs Romney did not do a real disservice just to women by her behavior on The View. She did a disservice to all of humanity.

    October 18, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. A

    Four years is plenty of time to turn the country around. He hasn't done it. Not surprising considering his lack of economic experience, and his socialist policies.

    And for women who are afraid they Romney will take away your "rights," please take a moment to think about the "rights" of the unborn you often seem to forget about. Let me add that I am a woman, and I am ashamed of those of you who are so selfishly misguided on the policy of life.

    October 18, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. acepaul

    If you think abortion will decide this election, think again.

    October 18, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. NEVER to VOTE REPUBLICAN again

    Women VOTE for your RIGHTS! Romney will send us back to the dark ages!

    October 18, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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