Why Hasn’t Romney Gained Ground With Female Breadwinners Yet?
3:10 pm, August 7th | by Amy Tennery
Mitt Romney has a woman problem. That’s not news. What is shocking, however, is how much he’s struggled to fix that — even among single, working women, for whom the economic outlook remains a central concern.
Outside observers, even some female analysts who say they plan to vote for him, can attest he lacks a certain feminine appeal. As far back as April, The Daily Beast decried Romney’s unpopularity with women under 50 as unprecedentedly low. Little has changed for him since, among women of all stripes.
What’s made him this unappealing to the ladies is open to endless speculation. But just for a moment, let’s divorce ourselves of judgment and refrain from weighing in on whether his women problem is fair: His inability to cultivate a woman-friendly image remains undeniable. His direct opposition to free preventative healthcare seems like an obvious, tangible problem — while other personality quirks are culprits as well. And while women overall are a Romney weak point, it’s the working gals that could stunt his bid the most.
And if history is any indication, this could spell doom for Mitt Romney.
First of all, let’s look at where things stand right now. Single women are in favor of Obama by a margin of 29 points, according to an eye-opening report today from the New York Times. What’s staggering here is Obama’s ability to hang on to women breadwinners, despite the rapidly deflating public confidence in the U.S. economy. Why would single women, living on a single paycheck, opt to reelect a president who’s failed to instill confidence in the economy? As the Times puts it, “single women are highly motivated by women’s issues like threats to abortion rights, access to contraception and equal pay, arguing that what seem like social issues have a direct impact on their bottom line.” What was once “social” now appears fiscal. The tides are changing.
Look to statistics from four years ago, and we begin to see why Romney needs to fix this (for his own good) stat. Single women are widely credited as a decisive demographic for Obama in 2008. A shocking 70 percent of single female voters sided with Obama last election cycle, according to US News and World Report. And while Obama doesn’t have the same level of support from the single ladies this time around, he’s better at packaging his social strengths as economic ones.
All of a sudden, the guy who talks about “getting rid of” Planned Parenthood looks like the guy who doesn’t understand what it’s like to be broke and need the pill, something a recent pro-Obama ad encapsulated perfectly:
When the woman in this ad says “I don’t think Mitt Romney can even understand the mindset of someone who has to go to Planned Parenthood,” she’s not talking about stigma; she’s talking about women who literally have not been able to afford preventative healthcare without it. Obama made the social financial. And Romney needs to catch up quick.