Something interesting is happening to the gender gap–it’s narrowing.

As an op-ed piece in the New York Times, by Lance Tarrance, a pollster, noted last week:

“President Bush’s post-convention ’bounce’ shows that he has managed to invigorate many of his supporters. According to Gallup surveys, among likely voters, Mr. Bush increased his slight lead over Mr. Kerry (50 percent to 47 percent) in the days following the Democratic convention to a more comfortable margin (52 percent to 45 percent) just after the Republican convention. Other surveys also show that Mr. Bush’s lead has widened.

“What accounts for this change in Mr. Bush’s fortunes? According to our research, the answer is simple: women.

“The same series of Gallup polls among likely voters showed women favoring Mr. Kerry by five points (51 percent to 46 percent) immediately following the Democratic convention. After the Republican convention, however, the Bush-Cheney ticket closed to a virtual tie among women (49 percent for Mr. Kerry to 48 percent for Mr. Bush). At the same time, according to the Gallup numbers, Mr. Bush’s huge lead among men (57 percent to 42 percent) remained stable.”

While much of the change in women voters reflects concerns about the war on terror, it appears that some of it may also be a result of the president’s currying their favor with various big government programs. As Tarrance notes, Bush’s “references to schools, children’s health care and mothers who work outside the home were seen as a transparent effort to win favor with women.”

It’s healthy for the body politic that the women’s vote is in play. We wish, however, that more women realized that big government isn’t the best path for us. As an antidote this kind of thinking, we suggest Carrie’s Lukas’s excellent white paper on the Dependency Divas, which shows how a big government agenda, as backed by rad fems, actually betrays women.