Developments that are shaping the contours of the 2012 Presidential race

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-life Mitt Romney and Pro-abortion President Barack Obama

By now you all know that the House of Representatives voted today to repeal ObamaCare by a vote of 244-185. That repeal was strongly supported by National Right to Life. It was the first House vote on repeal since the United States Supreme Court upheld virtually all of the law, known formally as the Affordable Care Act.

With that as a backdrop, what other developments have occurred recently that will help shape the 2012 contest for President? Let’s talk about four:

#1. Recent polls all are within the margin of error, with the candidates either tied or with President enjoying a slight advantage. And that doesn’t even account for the fact that some polls are rigged in favor of the President, as we discussed yesterday.

#2. As ABC News’ “The Note” put it today, “Digging into the crosstabs of this week’s ABC News-Washington Post poll it’s clear that Obama has a significant problem with independent voters. On every measure, independents are significantly more disappointed with the President and more open to a Romney message.” Overall Romney leads nationally among Independents by 14 points (53% to 39%).

#3. The famous “gender gap” is much more complicated that the phrase indicates. For starters, it misses that Obama has a gender gap: Romney is more popular with men. But the largest gap is between those who are married and those who are single. 

According to the most recent Quinnipiac University poll, “Unmarried voters support Obama by a 20-point margin, 54 percent to 34 percent. But married voters prefer Romney, 51 percent to 38 percent. Single women support Obama by a 2-to-1 margin, 60 percent to 31 percent. Married men back Romney, 54 percent to 35 percent.” Married women favor Romney over Obama, 47% to 44%.

As Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, explained, “”Although much has been made about the gender gap and how … Obama’s lead among women fuels his campaign, the marriage gap is actually larger and more telling.”

#4. In key swing states—states that either Obama or Romney might win—a large number of Democrats have switched their affiliation to Independent while Republicans have experience a modest increase. Collectively Democrats experienced a net decline of 480,000 in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and North Carolina while Republicans added 38,000 voters. Independents grew by about 443,000 in those states since the 2008 election, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from state election officials.

“The shift comes four years after President Barack Obama won the White House in 2008 thanks in part to wide support among independents,” ABC News reports. “But indy voters swung back toward Republicans during the 2010 midterms, helping the GOP retake the House—a shift that may help Romney.”

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