On second thought, some Democrats are saying, maybe that “War on Women” attack theme didn’t quite work out the way we planned it.
At least, that’s what the New York Times is reporting. As the all but official mouthpiece of the Democratic Party, the Times is helping to form the circular firing squad that will commence shooting the day after the election.
Democrats are nervously counting on an enduring edge among female voters in most states to prevent a Republican rout in Tuesday’s elections. Yet so great is the uncertainty that even before the returns are in, some are second-guessing the party’s strategy of focusing more on issues like abortion and birth control than on jobs and the economy.
The danger for Democratic candidates is that their advantage among women could be so reduced by dissatisfaction with President Obama and the country’s course that it is not enough to offset Republicans’ usual edge among the smaller population of male voters. Should that happen, a party pollster, Geoff Garin, acknowledged, “They’ll lose.”
But he and other Democratic strategists professed optimism, however tempered, for the party’s imperiled Senate majority, among other things. Mr. Garin pointed to surveys of states with the most competitive Senate contests showing that on average Democratic candidates lead among women by about 12 points, while men favor the Republican by an average of nine points. Since women account for more than half the electorate, Democrats theoretically can withstand some erosion of support.
As for the party’s emphasis on women’s issues, he said, “If Democrats weren’t running on these issues, the situation would be much worse.”
“The headwinds that you get from Obama and other factors affect everybody — they don’t only blow in the faces of men,” Mr. Garin added. “Even in the face of those headwinds, Democrats are still much better able to succeed with women voters than with men voters.”
In Kentucky and Louisiana, new polls grabbed attention for suggesting that Republican Senate candidates had made inroads with women. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate’s Republican leader, was essentially tied among women with the Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, in a Bluegrass Poll taken Oct. 25-29. But the poll, by SurveyUSA, does not meet polling standards of The New York Times because it was partly conducted using automated phone calls.
Is that whistling past the graveyard or what? “Does not meet the polling standards” of the Times? I suppose that’s one way to dismiss bad news. They could have done what they usually do; ignore it.
In truth, large Democratic margins among women are due to the potential vote of single women. The edge is much narrower among married females, who tend to vote in bigger numbers than single women in mid term elections.
Was it a horrible idea to begin with, to try and tar Republicans as unfriendly to women:
Tuesday’s results, Mr. McInturff added, would tell “whether it is possible that the single-minded focus that most Democratic candidates attached to the ‘war on women’ meant they never conveyed an economic and jobs message that might have led a higher chunk of the persuadable male vote to vote Democrat.”
Republicans increasingly make that argument that Democrats miscalculated in their zeal to galvanize women who otherwise would not vote in a midterm election — especially since The Denver Post this month endorsed Mr. Gardner, the Republican candidate, for Senate, criticizing the Democratic senator, Mark Udall, for an “obnoxious one-issue campaign” about contraceptives.
The Democrats’ real problem is that they apparently think most women support the radical feminist agenda and care more about their sex lives than who can best lead the country. Trying to sell the idea that most Republicans oppose contraceptives was never going to fly and only made their candidates sound ridiculous. And abortion is not an issue uppermost in most women’s minds — especially married women. But the issues were secondary to finding a way to scare women into going to the polls by painting the Republicans as misogynistic Lotharians who don’t care about women being raped or assaulted, and who prefer women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.
To paraphrase Lincoln: “You can fool all women some of the time, and some women all the time. But you can’t fool all women all the time.”