Quote of the Day:
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall has been called a lot of things, but the nickname highlighted during his Tuesday debate with Republican Cory Gardner deserves some meditation. “Mr. Udall,” said the female debate moderator, “your campaign has been so focused on women’s issues that you’ve been dubbed ‘Mark Uterus’ . . . Have you gone too far?”
–Kimberley Strassel in the Wall Street Journal
Kemberley Strassel highlights a welcome phenomenon in her column in today’s Wall Street Journal: the Democrats’ phony “War on Women” rhetoric is losing traction with the voters. The Democratic smear that Republicans are hostile to women served them well in 2012, when President Obama won a second term largely because of the votes of single women.
Strassel notes that Senator Harry Reid spent much of the past year holding “show votes” on issues that were designed to appeal (but not to actually benefit) women (on “equal pay” and the Violence Against Women Act, for example). The Democrats have also spent about $70 million this election cycle promoting the notion that the GOP is waging a “war on women.”
But this time is isn’t working as well: A Quinnipiac poll shows Mark Uterus’ Republican opponent down only about three points among women (President Obama carried women by 11 points in 2012). A Republican in Colorado who lost a race for the Senate in 2010 lost women by 17 points.
Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority leader, is running behind only two points among women. His opponent is a female Democrat. Republican Tom Cotton is tied among women voters with incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Pryor.
Some of this is that the GOP did a better job of selecting candidates this year. But the GOP has also, according to Strassel, gone on the offensive more than in the past on the “war on women” matter. Mr. Uterus’ (okay, I can’t control myself) opponent, for example, has come out in favor of over-the-counter birth control. This has deprived Mr. U of the phony talking point that Republicans plan to make birth control unavailable to women.
While the GOP is making inroads into its “woman problem,” the Democrats aren’t making much progress on their guy problem:
Polls show they are judging this Obama presidency far more harshly than women—on the economy, on health care, on foreign affairs—but have heard little from Democratic candidates to change their minds. That latest Quinnipiac poll in Colorado has Mr. Gardner winning men by 19 points. The Fox polls have Alaska’s Mr. Sullivan up among men by 14 points, Arkansas’s Mr. Cotton up by 15 and Mr. McConnell in Kentucky up 11. Note to media: Republicans don’t have near as big a woman problem as Democrats have a man problem.
Strassel also breaks down the women’s vote: it is not women who have given the Democrats an electoral boost; it is minority women. African American women go for the Democrats by 85 percent, while Hispanics favor the Democrats by 57 percent. Strassel comments:
The GOP’s task in changing those numbers likely has far less to do with reproductive rights as it does immigration reform and outreach.
Democrats are too invested in this strategy to let up now. But if they lose the Senate in November, it will be in part because voters—men and women alike—expect more from a party than gender pandering