Mitt Romney closing gender gap
Thanks to growing enthusiasm among women, Republican candidate Mitt Romney now leads President Barack Obama by four percentage points among likely voters in the nation's top battlegrounds, according to a new poll.
As the presidential campaign heads into its final weeks, the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of voters in 12 crucial swing states found female voters much more engaged in the election and increasingly concerned about the deficit and debt issues that favour Romney.
Romney has pulled within one point of Obama among women who are likely voters, 48 percent-49 percent, and leads by 8 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, the poll said.
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, it said.
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, the poll said.
"In every poll, we've seen a major surge among women in favourability for Romney" since his strong performance in the first debate, veteran Democratic pollster Celinda Lake was quoted as saying.
"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 believed 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."