When Newt Gingrich enticed the ladies of South Carolina to support him in that state’s primary, his campaign concluded a repentant Gingrich had vanquished the shadow of his serial adultery and thrice-wed marital history in the minds of female voters.
As the Post’s Amy Gardner noted, “Gingrich got nearly as much support from women as men. He won among married women, single women and evangelical women.” Hoping to build on that momentum, the Gingrich campaign quickly announced a “Women for Newt” team of a few dozen conservative Florida women.
But, like an ill-considered one-night fling, Newt’s flaws are turning off women who contemplated his candidacy in Florida’s bright sunshine. According to exit polling there during Tuesday’s primary, which Mitt Romney ran away with, he won women 52 percent to 28 percent.
He bested Gingrich with women across every demographic.
When asked by reporters over the weekend why Florida women seemed prepared to rebuff him, the candidate said “I have no idea.’’
But I suspect the maturity of Sunshine State women voters has something to do with their rejection.
According to the latest census, Florida’s population has the highest percentage of citizens 65 and older.
The women there, in other words, are in the same age demographic as Jackie Battley Gingrich, now 75, who was unceremoniously dumped by her husband in favor of a new, more energetic replacement wife.
And now, even wife #2, Marianne Ginther Gingrich, is AARP-eligible. Newt may well be a faithful husband to the younger blond wife now appearing at his side, but it looks like Florida’s women voters are picturing the more senior women he rejected, who look a lot more like them, and taking their loyalty elsewhere.
Exit polling data suggested women tended to vote against Gingrich more than they were voting for Romney. Asked their views of Gingrich as a person, men said they generally viewed him favorably by 62 percent to 34 percent, whereas women were almost evenly divided. While women expressed a slightly more positive reaction to Romney than men did, the difference was insignificant.