Romney surges to four point lead in Battleground states, well ahead among men, even among women

By Dave Andrusko
http://twitter.com/daveha

Pro-life Mitt Romney

If we believe reports—and to be honest, my guess is they are greatly exaggerated—pro-abortion President Barack Obama is seriously prepping for Tuesday night’s debate. If he is, one benefit might be that he doesn’t see the results of a USA Today/Gallup poll that came out Monday afternoon.

Pro-life Mitt Romney is now ahead by 4 points  among likely voters in the swing states, 50% to 46%. Those states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The surprise is not that he is ahead of Obama among men likely to vote by twelve points (52% to 40%) but that he is even among women, each drawing 48%. And, yes, how Romney can still be ahead by only 4 points is a mystery.

The story—what is written by Susan Page and what the reader can infer—is incredibly revealing. For instance, after being told incessantly that only a tiny sliver of voters is undecided, we learn suddenly that there is a subset of voters who tune in late and who are open to persuasion.

“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,” Page writes. “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.”

Hmmm. Why the movement?

Page quotes veteran Democratic pollster Celinda Lake who said, “In every poll, we’ve seen a major surge among women in favorability for Romney” since the first debate. “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.”

Page continued, “While Lake believes 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.’”

In English, that means that once 67 to 70 million Americans saw and heard the real Mitt Romney—as contrasted with the caricature found in the Obama ads—they decided to take a look.

The poll was taken October 5-11, beginning just after the first presidential debate. The 10th in USA TODAY’s series of surveys in the swing states, for the first time “the poll includes a screen to identify likely voters.”

There is one result that simply is inconsistent with 30+ years of experience. Even though we’ve been told incessantly that abortion is hardly an issue in these hard economic times, this poll finds when asked to identify the most important issue for women, “The top concern by far was abortion, an issue that didn’t even register among men,” Page writes.

“Nearly four in 10 women cited it, and those who did supported Obama by more than 3-1.” That simply makes no sense, given that abortion has always been a net advantage for the pro-life presidential candidate and given that Romney and Obama are tied among women with 48% each.

Near the end of the story in one of the great lines of all times, Page writes, “To be sure, there continues to be a gender gap, a phenomenon in most presidential elections since Ronald Reagan won the White House in 1980 with disproportionate support from men. Now, the gender gap is 12 points — that is, there is a 12-point disparity between the support men and women give Obama and Romney.”

Did you get that? With this logic, if Romney were running even with women and 40 points ahead of Obama among men, the gender gap would be “worse.” With bad news like that, who needs good news?

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