Much has been made recently about how Republicans, and Romney, have lost ground among women. Stu Rothenberg puts it in perspective:
Anyway, all of the attention on the changing views of women in this age group during the past month might miss a much larger, more important development that has gone largely ignored. Both of Gallup’s national polls and Swing States surveys for USA Today confirm that during the past six months, the more dramatic change in presidential preference has been among men, not women.
In Gallup/USA Today Swing States polling, among women, Obama drew 51 percent in October and 54 percent in March, a gain of 3 points. Romney, in contrast, lost 6 points during the same period, dropping from 42 percent to just 36 percent.
Clearly, Romney can’t win the White House if he is winning only 40 percent of female voters nationally or 36 percent of female voters from the 10 swing states. But it’s equally true that Romney can’t defeat Obama if the Republican carries men by only 3 points (as he does in Gallup’s most recent national poll) or by a single point (as he does in the most recent Swing States survey).
Why have we heard so much about female voters and little or nothing about men? I’d guess that it is because the narrative has been set (about the Republican “war on women”), so journalists look for data and anecdotes that fit into it. Certainly, some of it has to do with the reach of USA Today.
The point is that yes, Romney has lost ground with women, but has lost a similar amount of ground among men. When a particular candidate loses approximately the same amount of support among all demographic groups at the same time, it suggests that it’s part of a much wider phenomenon, and not isolated to a single smaller subset of the population (such as women). (See here for another example from last September – Obama’s “drop” in support among the Jewish population.)
My hunch is that the drop in the recent support for Romney among women (and men, and everyone else) has more to do with slowly improving economic conditions than the contraception controversy.