Poll: Which issue is most important? Men and women split
October 18th, 2012
12:37 PM ET
10 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. betterdays

    That's great that abortion is more important to women than contraception is. That's really sensible. Very logical.

    More proof that the average American, whether male or female, is getting "stupider" all the time... By that I mean less wise, not less intelligent. Let's just say "incapable of comprehending cause and effect."

    October 18, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  2. norma jean

    I repeat.....when it comes to women's issues you cannot trust Romney... He has intentions of having the Supreme Court turn "Roe vs Wade
    ." around... This is in the Constitution and helps protect womens personal rights. he will not work for women rights!!!!

    October 18, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. Irish Ladybug

    Why is there no discussion about Romney's history in Massachusetts? From what I've read, he wouldn't have won a second term if he had run. Is the Romney-Ryan tickets going to win in Massachusetts?
    PS Did he really commandeer an elevator for his private use?

    October 18, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Howard, the U.S. government is not a corporation, nor was it ever intended to be. Going off your point about Mitt;s success as a businessman, he got his success by buying, loading, and stripping companies all for his profit. He made money on the complete decimation of others.

    October 18, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. DA

    Watching Romney during the last debate made me shudder. His behavior leads me to believe that he is a physically aggressive, angry man. It seems that his son(s?) has(ve) the same potential for physical violence – punch the President? Apples do not fall far from the tree. First of all, that is not how to settle disagreements. Wonder what Mitt or his son would do if a president of another country made him angry – punch him?

    October 18, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Lisa P


    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
    How many of those "welfare" recipients are working? We've seen a lot of profitable companies around here use the poor economy as an excuse to scare their workers into accepting poverty-level wages. Reagan and outsourcers like Romney started that trend three decades ago, and I expect that the tactic will continue, and accelerate, should America have the misfortune of seeing Romney elected President. What did you expect when the vulture capitalists started shipping jobs overseas - that low wage workers and their families were going to just quietly starve without any assistance while rich investors raked in even more money? Welcome to the *real* Trickle Down Economy, Howard. Don't like hand-outs? Then give workers the power to fight for what they are owed: an honest day's wages (and benefits) for an honest day's work.

    October 18, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. norma jean

    You won't print this....... but I believe that you are Repubs because you have refused everything I've written for days and I am careful what I write.....This will NOT affect the presidents relection....I guarantee you that!!!!!!!

    October 18, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. Interesting

    well, can't say much for this poll but Obama's tactics are interesting. Court the woman vote by telling them the government will supply condoms and pay to kill their baby's. it seems that his female supporters only care about those things and can't be bothered with a silly little thing like work. Believe you me, the cost of Condoms today are outrageous. It seems to go up like the price of Gas, huh? I still don't know how Latex promotes Women s health however their must be a study on that to prove it floating around the White House somewhere. Maybe it's in the Benghazi Ambassadors journal that was retrieved after that demonstration about a movie on you tube!?

    October 18, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    Do you want a boss (that dictates everything to you) or do you want a president.

    I prefer a presdent.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 18, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Why is Romney so secretive about his plans, we need to know just like Adelson and the other billionaire donors because they wouldn't contribute that kind of money without knowing.

    October 18, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. dave

    Anyone that has taken government 101 classes, and not sleep through them, understands the President does not have the power to make abortions illegal. I just wish more people actaullly paid attention during their government class(es) in high school, and understand the powers of each branch.

    And Yes, the President will get to nominate probably one Supreme Court justice, but even the most conservative judges will not outlaw abortion. The most that will happen is that they will revert it back to being a State decision, they way the Constitution says it should be.

    October 18, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Critical Thinking

    If we re-elect Obama for a second round of on-the-job training, this country will surely go into a economic depression that will make the 1930's look like the good old days.

    Elections have consequences.

    It's time : BO MUST GO !

    October 18, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. LuvrRepublic

    We must build our economy back up after 10 years of liberal democrat control in the congress. They are solely responsible for our recession in spite of a wonderful president, George W. Bush. Plus everyone who promised not to forget the twin towers attacked and over 3,000 fellow Americans murdered, this one action destroyed our economy. That was the idea!! We need a new president who understands Americans are hurting. Romney is that man!!

    October 18, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |

    Trying to convince republicans that Romney is wrong for the country is like speaking to a wall. They're stuck in their bubble and common sense doesn't exist there. Majority of them are simply voting against the President because of race. The statements of hatred from Joe Wilson, John Sununu, Rushbo, Glen Beck, Michelle Bachman, etc are thrown out there and when they're called out on it, they say it was a joke, or they apologize only because they've been called out on it. Even if I were a republican I wouldn't vote for any candidate on the republican ticket. I'm voting a straight democrat ticket from top to bottom.


    October 18, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Mack

    I would have some respect for the Republicans if they could have just put aside their partisanship to work with the President on jobs and the economy for the good of all Americans.
    They didn't and that is why they will never get my vote.

    October 18, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. ITGUY

    I am not sure Obama can do everything he says.....but I don't trust Romney. He's an empty suit. He's arrogant and can't relate to the everyday guy. So that's kinda where I am. The devil you know or the one NO one has any Idea what he's gonna do. I don't trust that guy.

    October 18, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. SaintM

    Irish Ladybug:

    I believe that Romney did run for a second term, lost, and shifted his eye on the presidency. He also failed to secure a seat in the US Senate. (apparently, he did not realize he couldn't beat Ted Kennedy)

    October 18, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. wake up america

    After 8 years of the Bush disaster, where he sent 4500 US soldiers to their deaths in Iraq which was perhaps the dumbest war in US history while Romney was his biggest cheerleader, and after Decimating our economy by 2008 when receiving a surplus from Clinton, why in Gods name would we want to go back to the same policies with Romney that got us her in the first place. Give Obama a little credit, he did stop the bleeding of 850,000 jobs per month and have been creating jobs for the past few years. And seriously folks do we want another new dumb war in Iran with Romney the Chicken Hawk as president. We had One Chicken Hawk with Bush and that is more than our country can stand this century. And for the women out there Do you really want Roe Vs Wade overturned as Romney promised? WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

    October 18, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. PTNY

    I seriously do not think any woman wants to ever be in a position where she must have an abortion. Having said that, why on earth is Mitt Romney sticking his nose in this issue in the first place. This man and his party are hungering to alter the lives of the citizens of the USA by running under the guise of the economy!

    He hasn't uttered one word about how he plans to bring the deficit down...just how to pay for the changes he plans to make.

    How exactly is he "Uniquely" qualified to do any of this?

    October 18, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. IDontBelieveIt

    Romney's term in Massachusets? GREAT!

    He encouraged and enabled people to start small businesses – MINE is still going strong thanks to Mitt.
    He turned a $3 Billion deficit into a $2 Billion SURPLUS
    He reduced unemployment from 5.6% to 4.6% in 3 years
    He helped people in trouble all hours of the day and night, quietly and without bragging – male AND female.
    He subscribes unstintingly to Charity

    He'll make a great President. I KNOW, I've seen him in action.

    October 18, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. They'reallthesame

    betterdays, we haven't seen the poll questions so it's hard to say what exactly people said. Just b/c someone thinks abortion is an important RIGHT for women does not mean they don't think birth control is important. It's the most important way to prevent abortion. Unfortunately, many in this country don't even want to talk about sex with their kids.

    October 18, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. IDontBelieveIt

    Sorry folks – the 2nd post is a corrected version [$3 Million – not43 M

    October 18, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "I believe that Romney did run for a second term"

    Nope. No run for a 2nd term...just for the border.

    October 18, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    My son (15 years old) plays Lemonade Tycoon on his Iphone and he even knows about profit and loss. Maybe Obama and Biden should play this game for a week and then they might know how to run a business. Democrats had control of the Congress, Senate and Presidency for two full years and could have past any law to fix this problem. They failed!!!!! Democrats added 6 trillion dollars to the national debt (usdebtclock.org). Wake up people. I own a small business. It’s called a balance sheet and profit and loss statement. You can’t keep spending more than you take in. Revenue – Expenses = Profit/Loss
    Democrats are hiding the crash that is about to happen in December. Our financial system will collapse in December. Fiscal Cliff – look it up. I can’t believe that so many Americans are so fooled by a good speaking president. He has failed. WAKE UP! We need someone, anyone, to take control of this company called America.
    Income = Taxes, tariff duties and leading money- not borrowing money
    Expenses = Military, helping the poor, space program, federal roads and bridges………………….
    It’s not that difficult. The problem is favors- raising over $1 Billion dollars to become president. Everyone should follow Buddy Roemer’s idea and only except $100.00 dollars per SS# to run for president. You get $100.00 dollars from 1 million REAL Americans and that should be enough to run a great campaign. This could be an equal playing ground for ANYONE that would want to run for president.

    October 18, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. Reggiedw

    If abortion is the top issue in this election for women, then I hope that having an abortion can put food on your table. But I suppose that is the liberal way of thinking. As far as I am concerned JOBS is the most important thing to me. If women's top priority is abortion then I am really sorry for our society. If you are careful in your sexual activities by using protection then you women would not have to think of having abortions. And then i do not think taxpayers should be paying for your contraceptives. BUY YOUR OWN IF YOU WANT TO HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS!!!!!! I can see it being an option if it affects a woman's health or the pregnancy came from a rape. God please help us if that's the way women are thinking now. By the way, I am a woman and I totally disagree with using abortion as an option for unwanted pregnancies unless as I mentioned above.

    October 18, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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