Tom Edsall makes some interesting observations in this piece in The New York Times from over the weekend. If you haven’t read it, you should.
His topic is the impact of Barack Obama’s rather overt bids for the renewed affections for key Democratic constituencies and interest groups defined by demographic identity. Unsurprisingly, Edsall finds that the voting public at large is suspicious of such moves. For instance, while the public is evenly split on the subject of gay “marriage,” there is widespread cynicism toward the president’s embrace of the notion:
Some evidence that Obama must walk a fine line as he seeks majority backing can be found in the May 15 CBS News/New York Times poll, which showed that 67 percent of respondents said Obama came out for same-sex marriage “mostly for political reasons,” while just 24 percent said he made the decision “mostly because he thinks it is right.”
But the really surprising thing he finds is the way, after all the gyrations Democrats have gone through in recent months, including the “war on women” and other absurd rhetoric, the president has lost ground among women:
In an equally troublesome finding for Obama, the Times poll recorded a dramatic drop in the level of support for Obama among women, with Romney actually pulling ahead, 46-44. Obama’s support among female voters has fallen from 49 to 44 percent over the past two months, while Romney’s rose three points.
Stephanie Cutter, deputy manager of the Obama campaign, has challenged the accuracy of the Times poll, arguing that the methodology – calling people who have been previously surveyed, known as a “panel back” — resulted in “a biased sample.”
But even if the poll findings can be reasonably disputed, they still suggest that Obama’s aggressive bid to strengthen his support among women may be backfiring. Separate polling by Marquette Law School in Wisconsin shows Obama holding a strong, but declining advantage among women voters. In February, Obama had a 21 percentage point lead among women, 56-35; by mid-May, his margin among women had fallen to 9 points, 49-40….
Could it be that you just can’t go past a certain point in pandering to women without insulting their collective intelligence? It would appear so…