THIS ELECTION IS DOG MEAT

Maggie Gallagher

The Democrats' war on women meme is failing.

If you read between the lines of the April 17 poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, you can see it's President Obama, not Gov. Romney, who has reasons to fear a growing gender gap. (This may be why Obama disavowed the meme and slapped back Hilary Rosen's mean-girl words to Ann Romney.)

The Pew poll shows Obama with a narrowing lead, 49 percent to 44 percent, down from a 12-point lead last month.

Despite Democrats assiduously working the "war on women" for two months, Obama's lead among women overall is no different now than it was four years ago: 13 percent. Among white women, his lead has shrunk from 56 percent in 2008 exit polls to 53 percent today.

"There is a greater gap between white men and white women today, not because white women have moved toward Obama, but because white men have moved away from him," says the Pew report. John McCain's 16-point edge among white men in 2008 has widened to a 26-point lead for Romney today -- 60 percent to 34 percent.

Moreover, since March, Obama's support among women has slipped at exactly the same rate as it has among men.

Right now though, despite massive economic failures, Obama is beating Romney among voters who say the economy is a very important issue, and Romney is up only 1 percentage point among those who say jobs are very important. Romney is basically tied with Obama among voters concerned with traditional GOP issues, such as taxes, energy, terrorism, abortion and immigration.

Obama is up 7 points over Romney on "foreign policy," usually another traditional GOP advantage. Voters concerned about Afghanistan favor Obama (50-47), while those who worry about Iran go for Romney (54-40).

Obama is trouncing Romney by big margins among voters who care about "health care" (54-39), education (57-35), and in spite of having failed to calm the seas or halt global warming, is still up by 39 points (68-29) among voters who identify "the environment" as very important to their vote.

The "budget deficit" is just about the lone major GOP advantage, with 74 percent of voters citing that as a very important issue and favoring Romney by 19 points (57-38).

Social issues are always further down the list of voters' concerns, below jobs, the economy, getting blown up by terrorists, health care and education -- this year is no exception.

But the values issues continue to be crucial to any Republican who hopes to get elected president. Other than the budget deficit, the only issues strongly favoring Romney are gun control (52-44) and gay marriage (50-43).

Romney clearly has repair work to do. Even after Rick Santorum's withdrawal, 46 percent of GOP voters say they would prefer someone else. But 88 percent of Republicans say they will vote for Romney, as will 90 percent of conservative Republicans and 91 percent of white evangelicals. (Of course, losing 10 percent of conservative Republicans could tip the election to Obama in swing states.)

But overall, the one thing voters agree on is: This election process is dog meat.

Just 30 percent of voters –- an all-time low -- think the primary process is a good way of picking a nominee, down from 35 percent in 2008 and 40 percent in 2004.

Our endless media culture is dominated by irrelevant distractions purposely made up to confuse voters. How our presidents transport or consume dogs is not a very dignified or enlightening discussion.

Now, don't get me wrong: It's nice to see a fed-up Romney campaign fight back against endless photos of Bo, and Ann Romney definitely rocks.

But Americans are increasingly frustrated with our political process. We want to be proud of our country. And our politics is making it increasingly hard.

(Maggie Gallagher is the founder of the National Organization for Marriage and has been a syndicated columnist for 15 years.)


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