From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/06/23-1
Will the gender gap that decisively helped Bill Clinton and Barack Obama win the presidency again? Only if women remember who waged the 'war against women', against their economic equality and against their reproductive rights
Who will capture American women’s hearts and help President Obama or Governor Romney win the Presidency next November?
This is the question that the two major parties and their political analysts try to answer every four years.
Should we appeal to them as soccer moms? Working mothers who need broader benefits? Waitresses who are single parents? What do we say about abortion? Economic equality with men?
A century ago, this was the dream of American suffragists who hoped that newly-enfranchised women would be decisive in affecting electoral politics. But it wasn’t until 1980, when Ronald Reagan ran for President, that their dream began to be realized in the United States. By 1980, more women worked outside the home, lived alone, and voted independently of their fathers and husbands. Even though women’s votes didn’t defeat Reagan, they created what has been called the first gender gap which is the difference between the proportion of women and men who vote for the winning candidate. Since 1980, American women—especially African American women--have decisively helped Bill Clinton and Barack Obama win the presidency.
This year, the grueling Republican primaries provided American women with ample opportunity to hear the Tea Party’s fringe proposals to repeal the right to abortion, end contraception and the “”morning after pill,” ban funding for Planned Parenthood, cut government spending for services for women and children, and block legislation that would provide women with equal pay--even as they cut the taxes of the wealthy.
The media started calling their assaults on women “the war against women.” And it did make women angry. When polled in early April, women revealed their simmering rage. A USA Today/Gallup poll showed that “President Obama has emerged with an impressive lead in swing states around the country — thanks to women voters abandoning the GOP in droves, showing President Obama leading among women voters in the top dozen battleground states by a whopping 18 points — greater than the 12-point gender gap he won with in 2008. The president leads him (Romney) 2-1 in this group.”