Republican Hostility to Health Care Driving the Gender Gap

Today, a USA Today Gallap poll of 12 swing states shows the President 9 points ahead of the Etch-a-Sketch guy. Explaining the lead? A gender gap. Men are split evenly between Obama (47%) and Romney (48%), but Obama has a big lead among women: 54% to Romney's 36%. The lead is something in line with what we have seen recently in other polls. It's not a surprise, given the GOP's insistence at once that the government could not tell your insurance companies that they couldn't drop you when you get sick and also that the government should stick itself up a woman's vagina should she opt for a legal medical procedure.

But while the conventional wisdom is that Republicans drew the ire of women voters by wanting to hand their medical decisions over to their employers and by pursuing mandatory state sponsored rape laws, polling suggests that the gender gap is about much more than abortion. A CNN/ORC poll last week showed the favorability of the health care law jumping by 10 points among women since November, from 37% to 47% (with 43% of women opposed). Men oppose it by a large margin. The two are more than likely intertwined. I have little doubt that health care is was brought front and center to women by the Republican war on women's reproductive health care.

But it's not just the marginal favorability of President Obama's health reform law that is at issue here. Women are not simply more in favor of health care, more of them say health care is the top influencer of their vote for President.
Among women voters in swing states, healthcare was the top issue respondents said would influence their vote for president, followed by gas prices and unemployment. Among men, the top issue was the deficit and national debt. Healthcare ranked third, and unemployment ranked fifth.
Translation: Women are not just turning in favor of ObamaCare, they are making it more and more the defining issue.

Mitt Romney has responded to the widening gender gap between President Obama and himself by saying this:
"We have work to do, to make sure we take our message to the women of America, so they understand how we're going to get good jobs and we're going to have a bright economic future for them and for their kids. And make sure that these distortions that the Democrats throw in are clarified and the truth is heard," Romney said, according to Politico.
Yes, because who can you trust more to create jobs than the vulture capitalist whose firm picked out financially stressed companies, replaced their assets with debts, took the cash for themselves, and left families and individuals destitute? Who can you trust to care about the future of your kids if you can't trust the guy with a $100 million trust fund for his own kids?

And what is that about "distortions" the Democrats are throwing in? These "distortions" wouldn't happen to be crap that came out of your own mouth, would it, gubnah? You know, stuff like:

  • Mitt Romney's vow to repeal ObamaCare, and thus the ban on insurance companies to be able to discriminate against women.
     
  • Mitt Romney's support for putting your health care decision squarely in the hands of... your boss.
     
  • Mitt Romney's pledge to end Planned Parenthood, an institution that serves as the primary family planning organization in the country and the only way to access health care for millions of women. By the way, this is what President Obama had to say about that:


     
  • Mitt Romney's "absolute" support for a 'personhood' amendment, which would not only ban abortions but also forms of birth control.
     
  • Romney's loving embrace of the Ryan budget, which slashes Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program by a full third, and turns Medicaid into a block grant program that would result in 38 million more poor people, single mothers, and children without health care relative to current law. Who woulda thunk women wouldn't particularly like the health care lifeline for single mothers and poor children cut off.
Yeah, what a headscratcher that women are not opting for the guy who's said all this stuff himself, and whose party is running an absolute assault on women's health. What a surprise it is that women are not buying the Republican snake oil of a prescription on the economy. How shocking that women are not falling for sales job of a party that, since it took power in many states in 2010, has made an unprecedented attack on women's reproductive choice and health the centerpiece of their agenda. I am shocked, shocked I tell you.

The GOP war on women didn't start this year. But its front burner status has highlighted for women their true nature. The Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and SCHIP figures just as largely as their frontal attacks on women's health care decisions, but now with the open support of state sponsored rape and the attack on contraceptives, Republicans have provide women with a big picture narrative within which the rest of the policy attacks fit in perfectly.

The gender gap is the healthcare gap. Republicans aren't losing women because Democrats are distorting their record; they are losing women because of their record. And Mitt Romney is losing women by big margins to the President because he has willingly and openly embraced his party's radical views on women's health care.