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Omero: Are Women "Up For Grabs"?


A bipartisan Lifetime poll released this week made the rounds for showing women "up for grabs."  Obama's 11-point lead among women was called "lackluster" since it fell short (by a point) of majority.  To me, this sounds much like the "Obama can't close the deal" Republican talking point.  In this critique, Obama should be performing as well as an incumbent, in an open seat, and if he's not then he must be somehow weaker than McCain, even if McCain is trailing.  It strains credulity. 

 

In fact, Obama's lead among women is comparable to past elections, looking at national exit polls in the graph below (for this purpose, 1996 Dole and Perot support are combined).  If Obama's support is lower, it's because, with 10% undecided, and presumably 3% voting for a third party candidate (the polling release is unclear), the sub-total of 87% is lower than the 100% in exit polls.  If, as the Republican pollster said, Obama is underperforming with 49% (compared to 54% in 2000), then McCain is also underperforming with 38% as opposed to 43%.

 

dem adv among women.jpg 

 

A gender gap update

 

As I wrote last week, Obama's gender gap is currently at the high end of what we've seen in past elections.  As one commenter correctly noted, Obama's 10-point gender gap from July 21-27 indeed had increased dramatically since June, and was reaching historic highs.  But I didn't express alarm because I wasn't convinced the increase would continue.  Indeed, an update to our Gallup gender gap graph shows that to be true.

 

 

gender gap now.jpg 

Another commenter wondered what was causing the fluctuation in Obama's gender gap--Obama's support among women or men.  The chart below shows both Obama and McCain's support by gender.  And, in fact, Obama's support among women is (slightly) the most volatile.

 

pres vote by gender.jpg 

 

However, by volatile, I mean a fluctuation of four points, compared to a fluctuation of two or three points for the other groupings.  Now, four points obviously can mean a lot on election day, but this far out, in a national survey (as opposed to battleground state analysis) "slightly more volatile" is as far as I'm willing to go when talking about Obama's support among women.  "Lackluster" it is most certainly not.

 

Comments
boskop:

"women up for grabs" is not the headline i'd use in this day and age. especially with headlines of edwards enfuriating women across the country.

if obama's mildly volatile rating is truly that, then you might see alot more fury feeding into this wobbly stat.

obama has a problem. he professes the same high and mighty perfection that edwards did and women may turn a rather jaundiced eye to him and wonder, hmm, what ever did he mean in the that interview in the New Hampshire diner when he said, "I've had some big problems in my marriage."

this flew under the radar but it is something we all heard and preferred to sweep under the rug.

i hope the archivists in the media pull this one up or maybe i should scour your tube for it.

regardless, it is a big question mark now per your graphs how this edwards thing jigs and jags obama women line.

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Nindid:

If there is any parallel to be made here it would be with McCain who cheated on his wife after her auto accident with a woman almost half his age.

I would imagine that Republicans would be best served avoiding the entire subject of a major politician having an affair behind the back of a sick wife.

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distantobserver:

An aside to boskop and Nindid: Well, folks, the headline might to some degree have invoked the spirit. But I don't believe a serious discussion about gender differences should be contaminated by what I'd consider to be private matters of the McCain and Edwards families. Dirt smudges our lenses which were meant to give us a clear view. The author didn't stray; we shouldn't either.

So now to the topic of Margie's article which again gives good food for thought...

The "Republican talking point" indeed seems to assume that "Obama should be performing as well as an incumbent", while at the same time claiming that the Democrat is "an unknown quantity". This is, I believe more than just slightly incongruous.

An incumbent is almost per definitionem the known quantity in the race. That's his potential strength: those in doubt might finally be more comfortable with what they know. And that's his potential weakness: after all, those who back him often do this from early on in the race, and then he reaches his peak and final support early in a campaign.

The GOPpers should to decide. And looking at their new campaign strategy I'm compelled to conclude they actually have. The only way for the incumbent to add to his initial support is to foster the doubts of those undecided. Which they're desperately trying to do. Part of this is a tendency to overstate the perceived "tightness" of the race.

Charles Franklin created an impressive graph showing that Obama's relative position right now is significantly better than Gore's was in 2000, and still somewhat better than Kerry's. We know how those races ended, so we know not to take current numbers at face value.

Obama's advantage among women might shrink when, or rather if, the pro-choice Clintonites can't get over the Primary Battle and vote for an anti-abortion ticket. Or it might grow if they - perhaps grudgingly - decide not to support the former MaveriCaine.

The advantage might shrink or grow for a zillion other reasons, but if someone believes women were "up for grabs" - well that indeed "strains credulity".

Currently the numbers are as volatile as we should expect them to be almost three months before the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

PS: I'd consider the tiny difference over the gender gap as closed. Margie didn't want to "express alarm", and I didn't intend to jubilate prematurely. And both our interpretations were well within the margin of error.

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boskop:

@distantobserver

perhaps for you the headlines should not contaminate but i beg to differ.

you are voting for a leader of the free world. it is ABSOLUTELY about character far more than policy in the final call when character is the core that triggers wars. was bush just trying to get back for someone threatening his daddy? or was he trying to up his dad by finishing a war his dad backed away from?

history is rife with petty grudges, hyperbolic anger, mother hate, father envy, unrequited love.. all common headline captivating motivations that determine national borders and destroy millions of lives.

so let's back track here for a sec and consider what the edwards debacle has revealed that we might use as some kind of rule for measuring the two candidates we have left.

for many of us there were a few small windows opening about the inner core of edwards, the man that belied his altruism.

for one thing he was very pretty . this isn't a big problem. but when haircuts cost you 400 bucks then vanity is capturing your ego.
most of us including myself dismissed this. but no person can act a priori. as it turns out, this was a small but revealing indicator of the real man. symbolic if you will.

when elizabeth was diagnosed second time around and they both trotted out to face the press, edwards struck a very majestic posture of a man who loves his wife and would be able to juggle all the heartache and highs of a dying spouse a with presidential campaign.

improbable? shocking? heroic? selfless? or selfish, ego centric, un-loving, cold and something else is going on....

again, a choice and behavior that in hindsight spoke more about him than we even knew.

"how does a man who loves his wife do this? is he some kind of super hero?" we chose to go with super hero. it seems we always want to. after all two geeky teens in ohio who were bullied to death invented superman. we in america invented superheroes to replace our gaping religious needs for gods. gotta have 'em.

we want to believe really badly. so we sloughed this one off too. edwards was heroic and more than most men. "he has this ubelievable ability to compartmentalize" spoke elizabeth and we believed.

there were more small suggestions of the larger character that edwards was doing his best to tamp down. it now looks as though he was also a self styled robin hood because it was the only chair that no one else was grabbing in this musical chairs called the primaries. it was an easy identifier and label that was distinct from the rest of the pack. was it genuine?

now obama: if what you say and do however meted out in small measure and muffled by your staff still somehow emerges then you must accept these 'slips' as windows into the character that truly drives the man.

obama has been in search of his father for so long that he has sat at the feet of too many surrogate radicals from hawaii to chicago all in order to find his mentor/dad and finally an identity and someone to model himself after.

he found radical philosophers who mimicked his father's radicalism in kenya. but more than this, he has had and i believe still does, a manic and repressed need to fill himself up on the father he still craves. and letsnot forget his hurt is still an open wound. he was just thrown under the bus by his last, the reverend wright.

radicalism means a lot to him. it has been his emotional sustenance. this does not get cut out of you like a tumor. it IS you and will crop up
in the quick time reactions that fatigue and stress will only amplify in those lonely ominous nights of the white house.

mumbo jumbo? as much as the edwards haircut but there is more evidence here about what obama really is. more. much more. about women, about his marriage, about his sincerity, about his ambition.

i think that edwards has shown us that we must take increasingly seriously the possibility that you are indeed what your behavior and words suggest.

but these two men who do share one glaring quality that always belies the defect in their souls. no one asked edwards to preach altar boy perfection, family values. he did so even as he darkly slithered and did the opposite. we "think he doth protest too much."

obama has now established quite a record of moralizing and sanctimony that i would caution may also be a cover for a far darker side. he has one. a very distinct one. do we already have the evidence or shall we list back to our own tendency for superhero and ignore all the signs?

i will leave it here, but the list of provocative behavior in obama needs to be reconsidered in light of what we have learned was ultimately the true edwards.

yes, the headlines DO in fact belong as part of this discussion. and yes they belong on this page about the female vote because this is their election and females will take a second and perhaps, final look at barack obama.

"You're likable enough enough, hillary" will come back to haunt him as will wright and olinsky and ayers and rezko and many many more.

perhaps, before we elect the Man, we should understand what emotional triggers he packs for heat and thus will be duly warned about how he will act when war rears its inevitable and ugly head.

riddle: did we really know the other first term senator who ran for president?

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PeterPrinciple:

I have to say: The efforts of GOP troglodytes to somehow tie Edwards's extamarital conduct to Obama should be given points for creativity if nothing else.

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Lucy1007:

I didn't find a contact form or email address on this site, so I'm going to post this around an see if the matter is cleared up.

There seems to be a technical difficulty with the Alabama: Clinton vs. McCain page. The chart is correct, but the polling data underneath is not. It has the data for Obama vs. McCain. Please send this message to whoever is responsible for the technical aspects of this site.

Thank you.

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