With the help of women, Obama wins a second term

WASHINGTON Wed Nov 7, 2012 3:02pm IST

People celebrate as they watch U.S. President Barack Obama's acceptance speech broadcast live in Times Square following his re-election in New York November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

People celebrate as they watch U.S. President Barack Obama's acceptance speech broadcast live in Times Square following his re-election in New York November 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Kelly

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In the final week of the U.S. presidential campaign, one advertisement was on heavy rotation in the swing state of Wisconsin. It featured three women named Connie, Kim, and Anita who told viewers the reasons they were switching their support from President Barack Obama to Mitt Romney.

The Republican campaign hoped that women throughout America would follow the lead of that trio, but Obama was able to preserve his coalition of female voters en route to winning a second term on Tuesday.

Obama beat Romney 55 percent to 43 points among women, according to Reuters/Ipsos Election Day polling. That 12-point victory nearly matched Obama's 13-point win among female voters over Republican John McCain in 2008.

Romney did no better among women, who outvoted their male counterparts by 6 percent, than McCain did four years ago.

One key to Obama's success: social issues. Nearly two times as many women as men rank matters like abortion and same-sex marriage as the most important issue that determined their vote, according to polling data.

From the Democrats' convention to Obama's stump speeches to the campaign's commercials, the president's team put issues like pay equality and women's healthcare at the center of its argument for his reelection.

They denounced Romney for shifting positions on abortion and contraceptive rights since his 2002 election as governor of Democratic-leaning Massachusetts and for failing to support Obama-backed legislation easing the way for women to sue over workplace pay discrimination.

At the polls in Maplewood, New Jersey, on Tuesday, Rose Rios, 40, a registered Republican who twice voted for George W. Bush, said she was voting for Obama because she thought Romney held extreme social views.

"The Republicans now are so far right. They do not represent the views of ... independent women," Rios said.

Women ranked healthcare as among their top concerns, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling data, a view shared by Brandi Bettinghouse, a 26-year-old nurse from Reno, Nevada, who said she switched her vote to Obama in part because of her support of his healthcare policies.

"I didn't vote for him the last time, but I just looked at the issues and felt like I agreed more with him," she said.

While Democrats charged that the Republicans were waging a "war on women," Romney replied that the true attack on female voters was an economic one, citing the difficult economic conditions that hit all voters.

Reuters/Ipsos polling found that the economy was the most important issue among women.

In Coral Gables, Florida, Mariel Nolasco, a 56-year-old part-time FedEx worker who voted for Obama in 2008, said she backed Romney on the strength of his business record and fear of rising taxes on businesses.

"Business leaders are the ones who create wealth," she said.

More women, however, were forgiving of the economic conditions that confronted Obama when he entered office and were willing to give him a shot at a second term.

"I think there was so much damage done before he got into office," said Brandon Fox, a 48-year-old Democrat, voting in Richmond, Virginia. "Of course it's going to be a long process to rebuild."

(Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New Jersey; Thomas Browne in Florida; Editing by Karey Wutkowski and Paul Simao)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Gaza Conflict

Reuters Showcase

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Merkel says tightening Ukraine-Russian border is key to peace deal.  Full Article 

Tripoli Under Attack

Tripoli Under Attack

Renegade Libyan forces say their planes attack Tripoli again.  Full Article 

Ebola Threat

Ebola Threat

Ivory Coast closes western borders over Ebola threat.  Full Article 

NYC Protests

NYC Protests

Thousands march in New York City to protest police chokehold death.  Full Article 

Govt Relents

Govt Relents

Yemen government offers to resign to end Houthi protests - source.  Full Article 

Landslides hit Hiroshima

Landslides hit Hiroshima

Landslides triggered by torrential rain slammed into the outskirts of the Japanese city.  Slideshow 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage