…Then suddenly, a couple of weeks ago, Obama’s edge with women began to melt away. More than any other group, women have accounted for Romney’s surge in the polls, which has now given him a slim lead in the national popular vote and in some calculations of the electoral college. Women, it appeared, were not as firmly ensconced in Obama’s camp as they had seemed. Indeed, they were abandoning the president en masse. [...] The evidence that Obama finds himself bleeding women’s votes can be seen in how aggressively his campaign has sought to steer the conversation back to women’s issues. – Revenge of the Soccer Moms: Why Are Women Abandoning Obama?
WOMEN AREN’T responding to “bindergate” in Virginia the way Mika on “Morning Joe” predicted. A piece from Molly Ball characterizes Obama as “bleeding women’s votes” and that they “began to melt away” recently. Ball was out among Virginians, with her piece reporting what she found. The “bleeding” and “melt away” is hyperbole, because it’s more like a steady drip that can easily be turned off and stopped, but could also increase to a steady stream.
Ball’s reporting is representative of what I’ve seen slowly develop over the last 18 months.
Virginia is a tricky state to predict this year. But bindergate is very different from the issue of reproductive rights. It’s why when the Romney ad below surfaced, it was obviously something I felt could be powerful inside northern Virginia. So far, I’ve not seen it air.
“I was in the Young Republicans in college,” Prishack said. Her 11-year-old son, looking bigger than his age in his purple-and-white padded uniform, was practicing football under the lights. “I used to be very right-wing on abortion, taxes, everything. As I’ve gotten older I’ve shifted toward the middle.”
I asked Prishack where she stands on reproductive rights these days. “That’s one of the reasons I became less conservative, honestly,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine someone telling me I don’t have the right to make that decision. There are so many factors. You can’t have a blanket policy.”
Despite the way her politics have changed over the years, Prishack was still far from committing to Obama, and figured she’d have to do more research in the final weeks before the election.
Virginia women don’t like being told what to do on anything, even if they happen to be against abortion personally. They especially don’t like the thought of government forcing the issue on women, which gets a palpable reaction with Republicans in the state, including my neighbors, with no exception for rape and incest a right-wing push way too far.
But then look whom voters put in charge of Virginia! Bob “transvaginal probe” McDonald, whose involvement in that outrage kept him off the veep ticket, as well as Attorney General Ken “close all clinics” Cuccinelli (a man who wants to be governor). The “war on women” isn’t working in Virginia so far, because Virginia women see both Republicans running Virginia as competent on the economy, some of which Obama deserves the credit. But there is a tipping point and women will punish pols, as McDonald found out; as is possible with Cuccinelli on the clinic shutdown, because I don’t think he’s seen the last of the fallout there either.
Virginia voters are either complicated or very confused on their priorities, the tops of which is jobs, and the military. One reason why George Allen sounded like a parrot in the last debate with Tim Kaine, Allen continually chirping “sequestration,” as Kaine wiped the floor with him on specifics. It also could be that neither Romney nor Obama really excite anyone here.
Then there’s this, “Keep an eye on Virginia, too.”
In 2008, Obama won the state by combining high minority turnout – among African Americans and Latinos, who make up a third of the state’s population – with solid performance among college-educated whites, particularly women. If Obama can perform well with those groups and maintain a lead in Virginia, it’s a sign that he’s well-positioned nationwide. By contrast, if his performance lags – and Virginia becomes a tight race – it’s a sign that his coalition is stretched thin.
The amount of negative ads here long ago reached saturation. A state that’s been blanketed for months with Planned Parenthood ads against Romney, if I were advising Romney, I’d run the contraception ad above in the Beltway region for the next two weeks.
President Obama hasn’t closed the deal.
Mitt Romney is now clearly seen as a viable alternative.
I’ve been one place on the presidential race since the start. It remains Obama advantage, but the opportunity for Romney to swing voters his direction has steadily increased, especially here in Virginia.