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Mitt Romney's problem with women voters: views from a battleground state

In Virginia, a 2012 battleground state, women prefer Obama to Mitt Romney by 13 percentage points, polls show. Analysts say Virginia reflects the national outlook, which could bode well for the president come November.

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Democrats in the 10th District, which is represented in Congress by Rep. Frank Wolf (R), are positively gleeful at their prospects in the national contest. Mary Christofferson, a mother of three who is Roman Catholic and supporting Obama, said she thinks the abortion and contraception conversations that sidetracked political debate could alienate women across the political spectrum. She said the issues could resonate negatively with "moms and young women, and I would even venture to guess with Republican women."

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Ms. Christofferson also said Romney is the best of the GOP bunch of candidates, but that he's being harmed by the lengthy primary contest against former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick San­torum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Rep. Ron Paul.

"The longer they stay in, the more confused Republican voters are," she says.

November is still a long way off, though, and the Quinnipiac numbers show Romney has some bright corners to mine for support among Virginia's registered women voters – the wealthy, white voters, and the faithful, among others.

White women back Romney by 15 percentage points, and he has a 25-point edge with non-college-educated white women. White evangelical women prefer Romney over Obama by 41 percentage points. And women in military households give Romney a 19-point advantage.

Heather Ure, a mother of four and a self-described Republican loyalist, is backing Romney because she believes he has "integrity and moral character."

"He just seems like the only candidate right now who can go head to head with Obama and win," she says.

Ms. Ure, a Mormon who starts law school this fall, suggested that Romney's commitment to his faith is a good measure of who he is as a person, but she wonders if the public's lack of familiarity with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has hurt him. Still, she doesn't think his religion would harm him in a general election contest against Obama. And she believes the family values conversation has an important place in the national dialogue.

"I think he's beatable," Ure says of the president. "I think there are enough people who are fed up with the direction the nation is headed."

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