The 27-point gender gap that could decide the election

at 11:03 AM ET, 04/10/2012

The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll finds Obama leading Romney 51-44 among registered voters. Here’s why:

A wide gender gap underlies the current state of the race. Romney is up eight percentage points among male voters but trails by 19 among women.

So does this:

So far, Romney has not convinced Americans that he better understands the economic problems they are facing; Obama has a 12-point lead on this question. As in January, more Americans consider unfairness in the economic system a bigger problem than over-regulation interfering with growth and prosperity.

That last bit is key: It means Democrats are winning the framing war over what’s gone wrong in the economy.

If Romney chooses Paul Ryan as his running mate, it will be because he thinks he can win an election by emphasizing deficit reduction. But Romney already has a large lead on that question:

Romney holds a double-digit lead over Obama on just one issue tested in the poll: who would better deal with the federal budget deficit.

Romney doesn’t need a larger lead on that question. He needs people to care more about that question. Meanwhile, I can never decide how much this result matters:

On personal traits, the president’s edge is even bigger: He has a better than 2-to-1 advantage as the more friendly and likable of the two, and nearly that margin as “more inspiring.”

 
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