Analysis: Women pivotal in campaign 2012
April 11th, 2012
07:53 PM ET
11 years ago

Analysis: Women pivotal in campaign 2012

(CNN) – Ladies have seen their share of political attention this season, and they may have men - specifically white men - to thank.

Recent polling shows President Barack Obama with a double-digit lead over Romney among women voters, an edge which some Democrats attribute to a GOP "war on women."

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Obama and expected Republican nominee Mitt Romney have each been appealing to women voters, with the president's re-election campaign looking at a ceiling of support among white males.

He lost that voting bloc in 2008 to GOP candidate John McCain, 53% to 41% according to CNN exit polls, though Obama’s standing was above historical levels of Democratic support among white male voters.

During his time in office, CNN polls have shown the president’s support among white men falling. Excepting short-lived bursts of approval post-inauguration and after the killing of Osama Bin Laden, his support among white men has not risen above 38%, which he hit in June of 2010. In general his approval among this group has hovered between 36%, noted in an August 2011 survey, and 37%, which he scored in December 2011.

History shows the president could win re-election with white male support at that level. In 1992, Bill Clinton won with 37% of the white male vote; in 1996, Clinton won reelection with 38% of that bloc.

But Clinton benefited from other factors: in 1992, Clinton won 41% among white women, though Ross Perot’s candidacy played havoc with the totals. In 1996 - when Perot’s appeal had diminished - President Clinton won 48% of white women.

With his current support among white male voters, President Obama would need to win white women by a comparable margin. In 2008, he received the support of 46% of white women voters, while McCain scored 53%.

The Obama team may try to make up the difference with other groups, as well. In an appeal to Hispanic voters, they’re working to portray Romney as an anti-immigrant candidate; they will try to maximize turnout among African American voters; and could benefit from registering and turning out young voters, especially those who were too young to vote in 2008.

Turnout among young voters, however, can be unreliable on Election Day.

By far the biggest pool of voters – and the most reliable to turn out on Election Day – are women. So ladies, your moment in the spotlight is not up: expect to hear a lot more of the my-policy-is-better-than-yours between now and November.

Also see:

Romney on Santorum: 'This has been a good day for me'

Louisiana governor endorses Romney

Crossroads GPS to drop $1.7 million against Obama

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. ron

    LOL. I think all republican women should protest the war on women by cutting off their spouses/boyfriends!! Let's see how long the boys stick to their "morals"! Just tell them you can't afford birth control and don't want to have a baby!!!!

    April 11, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. Myviewis

    Women of today are about birth control, contraceptives, abortion, romance, sexuality, a glass of wine, entertaining, women are not about jobs, finances, family, education, retirement.. Men on the other hand are concerned with jobs, finances, supporting a family and home, educating themselves, retirement, investment so they are more demanding of Obama, men see their financial situation more straight forward. Women on the other hand romanticize Obama, they see him as a knight in shining armor coming to rescue their feminine rights and if all else fails they will find a husband or boyfriend to support them. Obama will win the female vote by far if he can promise birth control pills and abortion.

    April 11, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  3. gt

    yes....they are... the unemployed...underemployed and those who gave up looking for a job....

    April 11, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Liz the First

    The republicans are on record as supporting government-sponsored rape of any woman wanting an abortion. forcing a woman to take anything into her body that she doesn't want there is rape by any definition, and that includes trans-vaginal ultrasound wands! no woman who respects herself or her fellow women can in good conscience support this barbaric ideology. what do barbarians do when they want to take over a territory? they rape, pillage, and burn. well, the repugs have been pillaging for years, now they've added rape. how long before the burning begins?

    April 11, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  5. PTNY

    Romney has random "statistics" he's blaming Obama for. In fact, it's employers laying people off, not Obama.
    However, Obama has properly charged Republicans for actually making LAWS which will take freedoms away from women.

    Does Mitt think for one small minute that women can't read? That we don't know the difference between a statistic and a LAW? Who does he think he's talking to? Women of the roaring 20's that used to listen and obey? My god, he's(Romney) a fool.

    April 11, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  6. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Women better get active in this election! If the republicans win, women will work the same job as men for less money and be second class citizens in everything.

    April 11, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  7. Dead-On-Arrival-Candidate

    Corporations are people and women are not?

    Epic Fail!

    April 11, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  8. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    if the GOP fails to persuade women to come vote for Romney look for a big smear campaign along with pushing new voting laws that would repel some young people or seniors that can't get out to get the proper ID for voting.Here in Texas alone a student can NOT use his or her student ID to be able to vote, but can use a gun license. This campaign will be ugly and with the GOP losing the Hispanic vote and never really had the Black vote those two groups will be smeared as well.

    April 11, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  9. mrdeshon

    I love the GOP! It seems like daily they are saying or doing something so dumb & mean spirited to some vital electorial demographic that it almost seems scripted. Are they aware that every time they open their mouths they are giving our president more bullets to pick them off in november? They have to be the dumbest party in the history of American politics! Thank you GOP & please keep up the good work fellas!

    April 11, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  10. GonzoinHouston

    What hurt the GOP most was their insane debate about contraception. I mean, opposition to abortion I can understand even if I don't agree with it. But that contraception issue is going to come back to bite them.

    April 11, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The Republicans need to show why they are not the anti-woman party. I don't know how they plan on saying that. From all appearances they are the anti-woman party like they are the anti-science party.

    April 11, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  12. Paul Ernest Show

    Women ought to be concerned and fearful of a GOP victory. Take a look at the states the GOP control. What their congresses are doing against women interests. There's an outright effort, if war sounds very harsh, on the part of GOP state assemblies men and women to turn back the hand of time with women issues

    April 11, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  13. NotFooledByDistractions

    Romney is trailing badly with women and Latinos – the largest voting block and the fastest growing voting block. He's in a pretty deep hole – no amount of flip-floppin' is going to save him, the impression has been set.

    "they’re working to portray Romney as an anti-immigrant candidate; " – who's "they" – romney has set himself up as anti-immigrant, as has the rest of the republican party – theres no "they're" there. they made their bed, with both demographics. good luck.

    April 11, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  14. Dick Cheney is the smegma of mankind!

    And the GOP white men are armed with vaginal probes as they start the "war on women".

    Onward "christian soldiers".

    April 11, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  15. thomas

    Ann Coulter on 2012 GOP Field: If Christie Doesn't Run, Romney Will be Nominated and Lose to Obama.

    You can debate her womanhood , yet she is right about Romney and wrong about Christie !

    April 12, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  16. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    The GOBP's decade long war on women will face stiff resistance this year. Indeed, the GOBP will be facing resistance on virtually every front of the GOBP's class war on all but rich, white, "christian" males.

    April 12, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |