The “War on Women” is back and more on the presidential race

The so-called “war on women” helped Democrats’ prospects this year, whether in the Senate race in Missouri between the Democratic incumbent and Todd “legitimate rape” Akin, or in the swing states for the presidential race.

According to Gallup data, 39% of swing state women said abortion was their top concern in the election. The next most important issues were jobs (19%), health care (18%), the economy (16%) and equal rights/pay/opportunity (15%). In contrast, men’s top two were jobs (38%) and the economy (37%). (By the way, Gallup is now finding more economic optimism.)

With another Republican Senate candidate in the news for a comment about rape, the issue has ignited more commentary and maintains gendered issues’ place in the campaign. Richard Mourdock’s statement that pregnancy from rape “is something God intended to happen” caused his lead to vanish and put another Republican Senate seat at risk.

Jews tend to vote Democratic, but the Romney campaign hoped they could do better among Florida Jews. David Weigel reports this appears “to be a bust.”  While some of Romney’s top donors are Jewish, their views are far to the right of most American Jews.

Israel came up during the last presidential debate, as Romney criticized Obama for not visiting during his presidency. (You’d almost expect a chorus of “You never write, you never call.”)

Then Obama talked about his trip to Israel while a candidate in 2008.

 “I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable,” said the president. “And then I went down to the border towns of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas.”* He talked about the military exercise team-ups between the two countries and the Iron Dome defense system, and the round was over.

“Talking about Yad Vashem—that resonates with Jewish voters, especially when he pronounces it correctly,” says former Rep. Robert Wexler, the overtaxed Obama surrogate on Israel issues. “It resonates when he explains why he then was motivated to spend money on the Iron Dome.”

Maybe it was these sorts of exchanges that led Glenn Beck to conclude that God “guided” Romney to lose the foreign policy debate.

And how does the overall presidential race look?

It’s generally tied in national polling, with Obama having an electoral college lead.

For national and state polls, check these resources and UMaine-Farmington political scientist Scott Erb’s comprehensive lists.

But here’s what some different media outlets say the the electoral college looks like now:

HuffPost Pollster electoral college map

270 electoral votes are needed to win.

Thus, based on conditions now, and without winning Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire or Colorado, Obama would be re-elected. (Map based on all publicly released polls, as compiled by HuffPost Pollster.)

RealClearPolitics presents two maps. The one with toss-ups has Obama ahead  201-191, but oddly enough, it includes states in the toss-up category ones where Obama has a clear lead. (Pennsylvania, which RCP says Obama has a nearly 5 point lead is included as a toss-up, as is Michigan, with its 4 point Obama lead.)

RCP’s map without toss-ups has Obama at 290-Romney at 248. That map is the HuffPost pollster map with Colorado and New Hampshire going to Obama and Romney winning Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina.

More, of course, can happen. But one element is really key – and that is the remarkable stability of electoral vote-rich Ohio.

I’ve written about Ohio before and will likely return to it again, but take a look at the public’s candidate preferences in the state:

Source: RealClearPolitics

In the above graph from RealClearPolitics and in both HuffPost Pollster’s and TPM Poll Tracker’s graphs, Romney has never led in Ohio. The Buckeye state is stable and that matters.
Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.