IWF has been in the forefront of debunking the phony notion that Republicans are waging a “war on women.”

So I read with particular interest this morning reporter Karen Tumulty’s story in the Washington Post headlined “Republicans Make Inroads with Women Voters.”

In 2012, an 11-point advantage among women voters gave President Obama a second term. But in the midterm elections just completed, Republicans ran only 4 percentage points behind Democrats with women voters.

As Tumulty notes, no GOP candidate made the kind of gaffe this year that Democrats could seize upon to demonize the Republican as anti-woman. But the Post notes that something else is likely in play:

It also may be that the traditional Democratic attacks are losing their effectiveness or that Republicans are doing a better job anticipating them.

The GOP never had any interest in the “issue” of birth control. It has staunchly and correctly defended the religious and conscience rights of those who refuse to pay for coverage of birth control and abortion-inducing drugs because they regard it as morally questonable. But otherwise, it is odd to see the GOP portrayed as having an opinion on birth control.

But this year the Democrats failed to get traction from the phony birth control issue and indeed from other reproduction-related issues. Tumulty explores how this happened, including in the Colorado senate race in which incumbent Mark Udall ran such a gyno-heavy campaign that he was dubbed Mark Uterus. It didn’t work, and Udall lost:

Election-day exit polls showed that Udall still won the female vote — but by a margin of eight points, which was less than half the 17-point advantage that Bennet had in 2010. It was not enough to save Udall, who lost to Gardner by two percentage points.

Udall was not the only candidate to overestimate the extent to which reproductive issues would drive women to the polls for Democrats. In Virginia, Democratic congressional candidate John W. Foust ran an ad in which a woman sat in a darkened room and reminded voters that Foust’s Republican opponent Barbara Comstock had voted in the state legislature for a controversial measure that would have required women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds before they could get abortions.

“That’s all I need to know,” the woman in the ad said.

Apparently that was not an overriding concern for other women. Comstock beat Foust by 16 points.

Tumulty recounts how Maryland Governor-elect Larry Hogan responded to a massive Democrat campaign on social issues. The Democrats were outspending Hogan three to one on TV ads and many of them sounded the “war on women” theme. The campaign debated whether Hogan should go on TV and respond directly. In the end, Hogan’s 34-year-old daughter Jaymi Sterling did the ad:

Working in the editing room until 3 a.m. the next morning, they turned Sterling into gold.

How the Hogan campaign managed to get up off the mat is an object lesson for Republicans as they grapple with their continuing disadvantage among women voters. And it helps explain why — in this midterm election, at least — the “gender gap” did not turn out to be the potent force that Democrats had hoped it would be in Maryland and across the nation.

One thing the GOP should think about, before celebrating the failure of the “war on women” smear, is that single-women, who find the “war on women” issues more attractive than married women, don’t tend to vote in midterm elections. Still, as the Tumulty story makes clear, the GOP is learning how to combat the phony “war on women” rhetoric.

I urge you to read the entire article.