Women's Love for Barack Obama Wanes


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Women's support for President Obama has always outpaced men's, but this is one gender gap that's shrinking, according to new polling data.

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll, conducted September 3-7, found that women's support for the president is flagging, especially when it comes to foreign policy. In August, 46 percent said they approved of the way the president was handling foreign affairs, compared to only 33 percent this month. (This poll was taken as Republicans were blasting the president for being weak on the Islamic State and right before Obama stepped up his warmongering game, however, so this is probably not a terribly heartening finding for those uninterested in Iraq War 3.0.)

Women's support for Democrats in general has also flagged since August. From the Wall Street Journal

(The poll) found that women's Democratic preference had shrunk to a 47%-40% margin — down from 51% -37% a month earlier. The swing was especially sharp among white women, who gave Democrats a 4 point edge in August; in the new poll, Republicans enjoyed 48%-40% advantage.

It is hard to assess what accounts for that shift but, if it proves a durable trend, the stakes are high. GOP pollster Bill McInturff said that maintaining support among women is critical for Democrats in the midterm elections, or else "a difficult cycle becomes a really terrible cycle for Democrats."

The poll also found that women's feelings about the Democratic Party have soured, as 39% expressed positive feelings toward the party, down from 44% in June. 

Yet despite women's lessening of enthusiasm for the Dems, voters still believe they have better stances on women's issues. The poll showed that 45 percent (of male and female voters) said they were more confident in Democrats ability to "look out for the interests of women," compared to 17 percent who trusted Republicans more on this front. The 28-point gap on this question was the widest of any in the recent poll.