The largest and most enduring gender-based differences on policy are on government care for the vulnerable and the use of military force. Women are more supportive of social welfare programs, and they are less likely to favor war.
This election season, however, these potentially divisive subjects are not top-of-mind. When asked to name the most important problem facing the country today, 7 of 10 voters mention economic issues – on this, men and women generally agree. The GOP should take a page from President Clinton’s playbook. In 2012, as in 1992, the message for women (and men) should be “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Let Democrats waste their energies trying to woo women on “reproductive rights.” They will shore up their base and alienate the middle. Republicans may have a hard time winning more women with proposed cuts to the social safety net, but they will resonate with almost all voters if they focus on the economy and jobs.