Women voters split between Obama, Romney
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With the race for president nearly tied in battleground states, every voting bloc is crucial and President Obama's nearly double-digit lead over Mitt Romney among women voters may now be gone, according to several polls conducted after the first presidential debate.
The most recent, a USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday shows the candidates tied at 48 percent with women in battleground states.
"It's vital,” Jennifer Lawless, Director of the American University Women & Politics Institute, said. “Not only are there only a few votes in play, but there are only a few voters in those few states in play, and a lot of them are suburban women."
The GOP has been pushing back against the image its waging a war against women for months now, in part, by putting the presidential hopeful's wife center stage at their Convention and on the campaign trail.
But Lawless believes it was actually the lack of focus on women that's given Romney a bump among female voters.
"If there's a debate where the issues are not at all about contraception or reproductive rights or pay equity, they're not necessarily going to judge the candidates in those terms, so not addressing those issues ultimately played into Romney's strengths," Lawless said.
While last week's vice presidential debate did touch on where the candidates stand on abortion, Lawless says the trick for President Obama is to link most issues in question back to how his leadership in those areas will help women.
On the other hand, the challenge for Romney, will be delivering a compelling argument on how his plans will not hurt women.
"He needs to do everything that he possibly can not to turn off women,” Lawless said. “It's unlikely that he'll be able to attract many more than he already has, but he needs to preserve that base in order to win."