A new Gallup poll indicates that “the pet Democratic issues” (such as gun control and the alleged “war on women”) are not playing well this fall.

The “economy in general” was the first concern (17 percent), while “dissatisfaction with government” (16 percent) and “unemployment/jobs” (10 percent) came in ahead of the supposed ills President Obama and the Democrats love to highlight. Breitbart commented:

As for the pet issues that Democrats are always talking about — issues like "racism" (3 percent), "pollution" (2 percent), "corporate corruption" (1 percent), and "guns/gun control" (1) — these things are near the very bottom of the list.

None other than Eleanor Clift, veteran journalist and liberal stalwart, has commented on the failure of the “war on women” to boost Democrats this season in a piece headlined “Dems Desperately Seeking Gender Gap.”

Ms. Clift wrote:

With the finish line approaching and key races stalemated, two new polls—in Colorado showing Democrat Mark Udall in trouble, and in Kentucky giving Republican Mitch McConnell the edge among women by a single point—hinted at a surprising development: that the gender gap, traditionally favoring Democrats, might be flipping in favor of the Republicans.

Had the “security moms” come back? They were the women voters who turned to the GOP in the past when things got unsettled internationally. There were also “NASCAR moms” and “soccer moms,” other designations that tended to favor Republicans, as do married women today.

It’s single women that Democrats count on to provide a winning margin, and between Ebola and ISIS, and another school shooting to jangle their nerves, women could be searching for a safer harbor. Republicans speculated that women are tired of the Democrats’ relentless focus on reproductive choice and health. Some Republicans, most notably Cory Gardner in Colorado, have been able to neutralize the Democrats’ advantage on those issues by presenting a more moderate image.

The “war on women” was always a phony war casting Republicans as anti-woman over such “issues” as birth control, which the GOP has absolutely zero interest in curtailing (though it has by and large been against forcing employers who have religious convictions against birth control to pay for coverage—but that is a religious liberty issue, not a stand on birth control).

It should be noted that, in addition to “presenting a moderate image,” Gardner came out in favor of selling birth control that was formerly prescription over the counter, thus pretty much neutralizing his opponent’s desperate attempt to paint him as a man who wanted to ban birth control.

The tragedy of 2012 was that women largely bought the phony notion that there was a “war on women” being waged by the GOP. Why did it play then and not now?

I’d like to believe—and, indeed, do believe—that the work of IWF to speak the truth about a “war on women” has helped set the record straight. One of the best-attended events we’ve ever sponsored was our “Women in the Wilderness” panel in 2013 that explored what women who don’t want even bigger government could do in the wake of the re-election of President Obama.

Something else, however, is also at play here. In 2012, the Obama administration was able to keep a lid on certain truths. Terrorism? Al Qaeda was on the run, and, as for that attack in Benghazi, it was just a case of film critics going too far with a negative review. The economy was getting better and we needed to stick with a president who spent his every waking hour thinking about the middle class. Now Pandora’s box is open, and we know more about the extent of damage to our country that current policies are doing.  

When it comes to individual state races, however, the polls are close. So, even though Democratic issues aren't playing, some Democrats are playing better than might be expected. 

Still, when the chips are down, voters aren't thinking about the phony issues that animated many in 2012, though it may be that these issues are just resting up to reappear another day.