Tags: Democrats | midterms | war on women

Doubling-Down on 'War on Women' Strategy May Bust Democrats

By    |   Friday, 24 October 2014 01:50 PM

Democrats relied on their advantage among women to re-elect President Barack Obama, but in several key Senate races it is their lack of support which could make all the difference.

“At the end of the day, we will win these races if we win more women than they win men,” Matt Canter, deputy executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, tells The Wall Street Journal despite recent polls which show the "war on women" strategy may be losing its effectiveness.

One prime example is the Senate showdown in Colorado between incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Udall and Republican Rep. Cory Gardner.

With less than two weeks remaining, Udall finds himself trailing Gardner by five points in the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

While Udall leads Gardner among women voters, his level of support has declined as Election Day nears. In the latest poll, Udall has a 45 percent to 41 percent lead among women in a three-way race, but that is down from 49 percent to 40 percent from the previous survey.

Udall's small margin among women is a contrast to the 2010 election when Colorado Republican Ken Buck lost women by 17 points.

If Gardner holds his lead through Election Day, some analysts believe it should cause Democrats to rethink a strategy intensely focused on women's issues.

"But Democrats might have to revisit their women-centered strategy if Udall can’t pull out a win with the playbook the party has been perfecting for years — and is counting on," writes Caitlin Huey-Burns of RealClearPolitics.

In Arkansas, Republican Tom Cotton is leading Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor among women by a 46 percent to 43 percent margin in a new Talk Business & Politics/Hendrix College poll. Pryor has heavily criticizing Cotton for his record on women's issues, reports the Wall Street Journal.

"Women hate to be taken for granted and the Democrats totally stepped in it this year," says Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway.

"They figured if we keep beating the 'war on women' drum, we can win," Conway tells National Journal.

Democrat strategists dispute assertions that Colorado or Arkansas represent a diminishing of their party's support among women.

"Don't believe everything you read. The Republicans have displayed this antipathy toward women in choice issues and by redefining rape, and that is a slap in the face to women," Mark Mellman, a Democratic strategist, tells National Journal.

An Oct. 21 AP-GfK poll finds 44 percent of women voters prefer Republicans to control Congress, compared with 42 percent who prefer Democrats in control.

That is a reversal of the September AP-GfK poll in which 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored Democrats and 40 percent favored a Republican-controlled Congress.

As Democrat candidates have doubled-down on the "war on women" theme, Republicans have changed course this year by openly challenging Democrat charges.

One of the more notable examples is an ad, titled "Really," run in Michigan by Republican congressional candidate Terri Lynn Land.

This cycle, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has been spearheading the GOP's efforts to build on gains they made in 2010, when Republicans won the woman’s vote for the first time since Ronald Reagan.

"Our goal is to craft solutions that empower women, not make their lives harder with unprecedented spending, higher taxes, and fewer jobs. Because Republican principles offer the best for everyone: for men and women," she said at the Republican National Committee's “Taking Back the Future” Women’s Summit in July.

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Democrats relied on their advantage among women to re-elect President Barack Obama, but in several key Senate races it is their lack of support which could make all the difference.
Democrats, midterms, war on women
Friday, 24 October 2014 01:50 PM
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