The women’s vote propelled Barack Obama to victory.
Women, particularly young women, turned out to vote for the president, according to exit poll data. About 55% of women polled voted for President Obama vs. 43 % for Romney.
Young women aged 18-29 favored Obama 60% to 36%. Unmarried women also voted for Obama 68% to 30%. Women with children voted for Obama 56%-43%.
Issues around reproductive and women’s rights became central in the final months of the campaign. Republican legislatures have proposed radical personhood bills and laws meant to limit abortion rights, pushing agendas that would result in making it more difficult for women to get insurance coverage for contraception—or banning women’s birth control in some cases. The extremism of the Republican agenda received national attention after high-profile blunders of Rep. Todd Akin and Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock.
Akin was caught on camera talking about women having a natural biological defense against pregnancy from “legitimate rape,” and Richard Mourdock stuck to his beliefs that pregnancies resulting in rape are “something that God intended to happen.” The Romney campaign disagreed with Mourdock’s stance but continued to support him and did not ask the Mourdock campaign to pull an ad featuring Romney’s endorsement of Mourdock.
Abortion was named the “single most important issue for women in this election” by female voters in 12 key swing states in an October Gallup poll.
“How many women count on Planned Parenthood?” asked Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter on Monday night’s Hardball. Romney has promised to end federal funding for the women’s health care provider.
Monday’s USA Today/Gallup poll revealed female voters in critical swing states favor Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by 16 points.
Romney’s inability to declare his support for equal pay for women in his second debate with President Obama further conveyed the message to American women that their interests were better represented by the Democratic Party. His response on pay equity for women turned into a meme, when he uttered the phrase “binders full of women.”