What We're Reading This Morning -- June 7
Good morning everyone! The talk of the town today is on the role of women’s issues in the election cycle — it’s proving to be quite decisive in state fights across the country and in the national presidential race. Here’s what we’re reading about this morning….
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin played a crucial role in the recall election, educating voters on just how out of touch candidates were on women’s health. “John Nichols: Planned Parenthood's recall success story” — “How did Democrat John Lehman beat the odds and turn out one of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's favorite legislators -- on the same night that the governor and his allies were beating back recall challenges?... [I]n a closely divided county, which voted for Walker for governor, Lehman had something else. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. The group was actively engaged in the recall fight, particularly at the grass-roots level statewide…. It's fair to suggest the intervention by Planned Parenthood helped Lehman secure his narrow 779-vote win -- the only victory for a Democrat Tuesday. And it is notable that his win tips control of the Senate not just to the Democrats but to a pro-women's health majority. As Planned Parenthood [Advocates' ]Executive Director Tanya Atkinson says: ‘The victory in SD 21 proves that Wisconsin women are watching and working to protect and preserve reproductive health and rights.’ Amid all the analysis of the recall fight, her point is well taken.“
The spotlight on women’s issues doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. “Groups benefit from campaigns' focus on women's issues” — “Women's groups on both sides of the political spectrum are reaping the benefit of the campaign-season focus on women's issues, and say they have the opposing side to thank for the windfall. Debates this year over contraception, federal funding for abortion services and Tuesday's Senate vote on equal pay for women have invigorated women's groups on the right and the left to try to sway the female vote…. Last week, Planned Parenthood [Action Fund] endorsed President Obama and launched a $1.4 million ad buy in swing states attacking Republican Mitt Romney. Planned Parenthood Action Fund Inc. … has spent $1.6 million in independent expenditures this election cycle. ‘Women's issues have not been the political football that they have during this cycle,’ said Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood [Action Fund]'s executive vice president for policy, advocacy and communications. Obama's administration ‘is the last line of defense’ for women's basic health care, she said. Laguens said Planned Parenthood [Action Fund] is on pace to raise much more than it did in 2008 and plans to keep women's issues front and center throughout the summer and fall.”
Obama still maintains a large lead among women, and the independent female vote may be what’s making the difference. “Bad Week Aside, Female Voters Still Love Obama More Than Romney” — “But Obama can still find solace in the arms of female voters. Reports of Romney’s luck with the lady vote have been greatly exaggerated. Much ado was made of a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showing Romney gaining substantially among women voters. However, the gains are merely among Republican women. ‘What we are seeing is GOP women who had been previously spread among many candidates coalescing around the presumptive nominee,’ Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics, told me. ‘Romney is picking up who he should be picking up.’ In other words: Republicans are supporting the Republican candidate. The sky is also blue. Obama still has a large lead among women overall: according to Gallup’s May 6 poll, Obama leads Romney among women 49-42 percent. It’s the independent women who are being watched closely by the experts. Walsh said she has not noted any statistically meaningful change in the president’s support among this cohort. ‘During the Republican primary, the independent women had really fallen away from Mitt Romney, and we haven’t seen them bouncing back,’ Lanae Erickson of the centrist think tank Third Way told me. ‘There was a big change around January with the contraception debate, and then in the spring Romney didn’t distance himself from the extreme things being said by other GOP candidates.’”