Michael Barone

Maybe it's just possible that women voters are more concerned about an economy where 23 million people are out of work or have quit looking.

Or about a president who the day after the murder of a U.S. ambassador flew off to a Las Vegas fundraiser and for two weeks kept blaming it on a spontaneous response to a video, contrary to what his State Department knew on day one.

Joe Biden tried to appeal to women by predicting that a Supreme Court with more Republican appointees might overturn Roe v. Wade and make abortion illegal.

One is reminded that Biden was near the bottom of his class at Syracuse Law School. A Roe reversal, which is highly unlikely no matter who is confirmed to the high court, would simply return the issue to the states. Abortion wouldn't be banned anywhere except, maybe, in Utah, Louisiana and Guam.

Once upon a time, abortion was a defining issue for many voters. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, partisan preferences on both sides were linked to strong religious and moral beliefs. Voters didn't switch parties much.

In the last half a dozen years, voters have responded more to events, emerging issues, and leaders' strengths and weaknesses. Many switched parties to vote for Obama. Some, many of them women, are switching now to vote for Romney.

Women tend to be more risk-averse than men, and the gender gap grew when Reagan Republicans were depicted as scaling back welfare state protections.

The debates may have shifted the perception of risk. The downcast Obama and the cackling Biden may have sounded dangerously risky. Many women may have felt, as my email friend's wife said last winter, they would feel safe if Romney were in charge.

Readers who watched Tuesday's debate can judge whether that still holds.

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM