As Ohio Women Go, So May The Nation

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Ohio women could decide who wins the White House

Have you wondered why the Obama campaign is running so many ads aimed at women? Have you wondered why there is a group Ohio Women for Mitt. Women, in particular Ohio women, could hold the key to the election.

First the numbers:

• In Ohio women make up 51.2 percent of the population. (2011 Census)

2008 exit polls showed that women voters outnumbered men 52 percent to 48 percent.

The bottom line – there likely will be more women than men casting Ohio ballots in November. And because there are very few paths to victory that do not include Ohio’s 18 electoral votes, those women could decide the race in Ohio and thus the nation.

Michelle Obama was in Columbus and Dayton last week touting her husband’s support of abortion rights and equal-pay-for-equal-work. Obama campaign ads fuel the so called War on Women theme, proclaiming this is a “scary time to be a woman” and attacking Romney’s anti-abortion stance and opposition to mandatory insurance coverage of contraception.

Almost simultaneously to the first lady’s visit, Lt. Governor Mary Taylor and three other high profile Republican women tried to sway women voters by pointing to the president’s economic record. Taylor said women are really concerned about high taxes, over-regulation and growing small businesses. The Romney campaign is running new ads featuring women who voted for Obama now disappointed in his performance.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Romney has a lot work to do. That poll finds he faces a pretty wide gender gap:

• Women favor Obama by a whopping 21 points – 58 percent to 37 percent.

• Men favor Romney by 10 points – 52 percent to 42 percent.

It’s only August, and women’s support for the candidates in a poll does not measure enthusiasm. Obama will not ride the “new face of politics” wave he enjoyed in 2008. The weak economy could keep many women home and could propel more men to the polls.

But if you want a good way to measure how Ohio will vote, watch the women’s vote.  And right now that vote is squarely in the hands of the president.

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