A new poll and Romney’s “women problem”

From USA Today’s Swing States Poll: A shift by women puts Obama in lead:

In the fifth Swing States survey taken since last fall, Obama leads Republican front-runner Mitt Romney 51%-42% among registered voters just a month after the president had trailed him by two percentage points.

The biggest change came among women under 50. In mid-February, just under half of those voters supported Obama. Now more than six in 10 do while Romney’s support among them has dropped by 14 points, to 30%. The president leads him 2-1 in this group.

Romney has a big lead among older men, but it’s not even close to offsetting his deficit with other demographic groups. Romney does a little worse with women in the 12 swing states than Santorum does, but Romney does a little better in the matchup with Obama than Santorum does.

There’s not really any good news for Romney in this latest poll, but there could be some mitigating factors:

  • the election is still 8 months away
  • the margin for error in the poll was 4 points
  • as the primaries wind down, Romney can move away from issues that might be costing the votes of women
  • as the primaries wind down, Romney can embrace issues that concern women

From USA Today

Still, it’s also possible that the poll could actually be overstating Romney’s electoral strength:
  • the poll of swing states does not include Indiana and assumes it will be a red state in 2012, even though Obama won it in 2008
  • the poll assumes Missouri, which McCain won very narrowly, is not a swing state and will be red this fall
  • given recent polling and ongoing demographic trends, a few of the so-called swing states — including ones like Pennsylvania and Michigan — could be easy Obama wins in the fall