Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How Women Voters Are Scrambling Senate Races - in Both Directions

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How Women Voters Are Scrambling Senate Races - in Both Directions

Article excerpt

In Colorado, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall now faces an uphill election battle, in part because his Republican opponent has gained some ground with women.

In Georgia, front-runner Republican David Perdue now faces a tightening race, in part because his Democratic opponent has done the same.

Women voters have been seen as a key demographic in the Nov. 4 midterm elections. That is bearing out in several Senate races in battleground states, as movement among women voters is leading to movement in the polls. In some cases, it is toward the Republican. In others, it is toward the Democrat. In a number of cases, however, it is making tight races even tighter.

Senator Udall's struggle to fend off Republican Cory Gardner in Colorado included a Denver rally alongside first lady Michelle Obama Thursday. She was there to drive women and minority voters to the polls - and to support Udall.

"Barack [Obama] won because record numbers of women and minorities showed up to vote," the first lady said. "And when the midterms came along, too many of our people tuned out" instead of turning out.

In general, a higher turnout of women still helps Democrats, since women prefer Democrats, according to polls. Nationwide, the gap in preferences between women and men was evident in a recent Fox News poll. When asked whether they would generally vote for a Democrat or a Republican in their own district, 48 percent of women favored a Democrat and 38 percent a Republican. Among men, the preferences were reversed, with 54 percent for Republicans and 36 percent for Democrats.

Democrats have put special emphasis on mobilizing women as a core piece of their strategy for fending off a Republican bid to take the Senate. And although they have made missteps in some key states, they have remained competitive in others partly by bolstering their support from female voters.

But in Colorado, Mr. Gardner is narrowing the gap.

He has taken a slim overall lead against Udall by adding five percentage points to his support from likely women voters (bringing his total support among women to 41 percent). …

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