Au revoir, gender gap

With Election Day less than a week away, the buzz in Washington has turned to likely voters and how they’ll cast their ballot next Tuesday. One group generating attention this year is women.

As I wrote earlier this month, it appears the gender gap is fading away. Now new poll data released by both Pew and Gallup reinforce this finding.

In a recent survey, Pew found white women favor Republicans by 20 points. And among all likely female voters, respondents chose Republicans over Democrats 49-43.

Similarly, Gallup found likely female voters favoring Republicans over Democrats 49-46. (The margin of error essentially eliminates any gap.)

The economy — which is the No. 1 issue for all voters this year — has trumped the highly divisive abortion issue, which helps partially explain the shrinking gap. More significant, however, is how Obama’s failed economic agenda has paved the way for Republicans campaigning on tax relief, reforming entitlement spending and closing the budget gap.

In response to this change in female voters, Michelle Obama has returned to the stump for candidates like Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). And the White House has released a new report, “Jobs and Economic Security for America’s Women,” which lays out what the administration has done for women — pointing to legislative candy like the Lilly Ledbetter act aimed at improving equality in the workplace.

But playing gender politics is how Democrats got into this mess in the first place. Unless President Obama and Democrats start addressing the issues that really matter to women — the size and scope of government, repealing and replacing the healthcare law, extending the Bush-era tax cuts and eliminating burdensome regulations that impede the growth of new business — they can wave goodbye to the faithful women’s vote.

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