Marybeth Hicks
If it weren’t so obvious, it might be ironic.

On Monday, a USA Today/Gallup poll among likely voters in the top 12 battleground states revealed a startling demographic shift: Women are moving toward Republican Mitt Romney, thanks in large measure to the candidates’ respective performances in the first presidential debate earlier this month in Denver.

Also on Monday, in an incredibly coincidental editorial, The New York Times warned of a stark Romney-Ryan future in which abortion rights would be eliminated in more than half the states, and women’s health would be jeopardized due to the Republicans’ promised defunding of Planned Parenthood.

The ardent leftists at the Gray Lady must be afraid their candidate is in serious trouble. What other reason could there be for raising a red flag on an issue that is not driving the election?

To be sure, abortion remains one of the most divisive issues in our nation — one many describe as the most important civil rights issue in America since slavery. As a nation, we are nearly evenly divided about its acceptability, with support for abortion slipping in recent years, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Yet according to Gallup, only about 17 percent of voters decide on candidates for office based solely on whether they agree with the person’s position on abortion rights.

In fact, according to poll after poll, abortion will not be the deciding factor for the majority of voters, including the majority of women voters. (Among virtual non-issues: the availability of free contraception. Go figure.)

For months it has been clear that women will vote in November for the candidate they believe will best offer solutions to resolve the economic realities women face around their own kitchen tables.

It’s women who make the vast majority of consumer decisions in our society. With apologies to the exceptional men reading this column, it is women who buy the groceries, fill the gas tanks in their minivans, clothe their kids for school, shop for holiday and birthday gifts, decorate their homes, and put cash in the pockets of their college students when sending them back to school after a long weekend.

It’s women who most assuredly know that the recent drop in unemployment numbers must be a ruse, since unemployed adults younger than 34 are living at home with their parents in record numbers.

Young women know it’s the economy, and not a lack of commitment from their boyfriends, that stands between them and weddings, families and homes of their own.

Marybeth Hicks

Marybeth Hicks is the author of Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom (Regnery Publishers, 2011).