If the Swing States Poll was bad news for Mitt Romney’s performance among women voters, then the latest Pew Research Center survey is even worse—among all women, the former Massachusetts governor trails President Obama by twenty percentage points, 58 to 38. Compared to McCain's campaign in 2008, Romney is underperforming by six percentage points.
The difference between then and now is Romney's support with white women. While Romney ties Obama overall among the demographic, that has more to do with the intense antipathy of the over–65 set have for the president. When you break it down, Obama has 52 percent support among white women age 18 to 49, and 48 percent support among those age 50 to 64. But he loses the oldest group, 43 to 54.
The important thing about all of this is that white women are the demographic that keep Republicans in the running for the overall “women’s vote.” In most elections, Democrats perform extremely well among women of color, and capture a modest plurality of white women. If that were to grow to a large plurality, or a tie, then Republicans would be hard-pressed to win in swing states and other contested areas.
In other words, Republicans should hope that, by the fall, voters have forgotten their crusade against contraception and women’s health. Otherwise, they’ve just made their job much harder.