As the presidential campaign heads into its final weeks, the survey of voters in 12 crucial swing states finds female voters much more engaged in the election and increasingly concerned about the deficit and debt issues that favor Romney. The Republican nominee now ties the president among women who are likely voters, 48%-48%, while he leads by 12 points among men …“In every poll, we’ve seen a major surge among women in favorability for Romney” since his strong performance in the first debate, veteran Democratic pollster Celinda Lake says. “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. Now, the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows Romney leading Obama 51%-46% among likely voters in the swing states. Men who are likely voters back him 54%-42%. The states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin…
How concerned was the Obama campaign about this data? They blasted out a memo from their top pollster ragging on the survey's methodology, including its fairly standard likely voter screen. Team O didn't seem too worked up over the exact same likely voter methodology in 2008, when it produced a healthy lead for their guy. But isn't it fun watching the Obama camp going to great lengths to discredit poll results they don't like? I'm so old that I can remember when they were ridiculing the Romney campaign for questioning partisan samples, and the like. It's entirely conceivable that this public opinion snapshot overstates Romney's strength with women (if he can even come close to dead even with female voters, it's curtains for Obama). Indeed, the only other poll I can remember that showed the gender gap closing shut was Pew's eyebrow-raiser from last week. But if things really are getting that close, steel yourselves for War On Women 3.0, featuring the most ferocious demagoguery to date. I would say it will start with Obama tonight (Mitt had better be ready for what's coming on abortion, birth control, "equal pay," etc), but it's already begun. Prepare to lose a few brain cells, via Allahpundit:
Planned Parenthood doesn't do cancer screenings by and large, and even left-leaning Politifact has smacked Democrats for the spurious "redefining rape" scare tactics -- but never mind all that. Be very afraid, ladies. Liberals need you to understand that your "ladyparts" are more important than your brains, your pocketbooks, and your nation's solvency. If Romney keeps closing the gender gap, preachy celebrity ads like this are just the beginning. Parting thought: Eva Longoria is an official national co-chair of the Obama campaign. Is she legally permitted to coordinate with an outside group like MoveOn.org and appear in their "independent expenditure" ads? Hmmm.
UPDATE - Mark Halperin hears rumblings of Democrat distress:
One senior Democratic official expressed real concern tonight unlike I have heard before about Ohio potentially slipping away from Obama (the state has been trending Republican in statewide races, Rob Portman has become a force, religious and gun groups are flooding the state with voter contacts, two of Romney’s top strategists have recently won a statewide race there, etc).This doesn’t mean Romney has the upper hand right now. But it is no longer at all implausible that he could take the three Southern battlegrounds and Ohio.
UPDATE II - New Hampshire:
A poll released Monday indicates Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are tied in the battleground state of New Hampshire. Likely voters in the Granite State are split 47% to 47%, according to a Suffolk University/7News survey. Two percent of voters support Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, while 4% are undecided. The poll comes a few days after a survey by American Research Group on Friday showed Romney with 50% and Obama with 46%, a margin that fell within the poll's sampling error.
UPDATE III - New from PPP/SEIU/DailyKos (!): Romney 50, Obama 46 among national likely voters, with Mitt ahead 50-47 in swing states.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography