Election poll: 'Cavernous' gender gap gives boost to Obama

In a Pew national poll, President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 20 points among women voters and leads Rick Santorum by 26 points. Pew president Andrew Kohut spoke about the poll at a Monitor breakfast.

Courtesy of Pew Research Center
Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center.

Andrew Kohut leads the nonpartisan Pew Research Center and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. He appeared at the March 14 Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C., to discuss a new Pew national poll.  

The gender gap between President Obama and Republican candidates:

"There is a cavernous gender gap in the horse-race poll…. Obama leads [GOP front-runner Mitt] Romney by 20 points among female voters. And [Obama] leads [candidate Rick] Santorum by 26 points among female voters."

The expectations gap between Democratic voters and Republican voters:

"More than 80 percent of Democrats anticipate a victory for Obama regardless of [the Republican] candidate. But Republicans have mixed views. Just 60 percent of Republicans think that Romney will beat Obama, and only 46 percent think that Santorum will beat Obama."

Age gap in political attitudes:

"It is not only that the Millennial generation has come out of the box more liberal, more Democratic. It is that older people are much more conservative and much more Republican than they have been in the past, and the gap between young and old is really very, very big."

The key role of gasoline prices for both parties:

"Gasoline prices [are] the biggest question for both sides as I look at the results of this poll. We found no further gain in optimism this month about the economy a year forward.... [T]he good news about jobs was offset by the bad news about gasoline prices."

Challenges facing the Republican Party:

"Republicans really are the party of white people and especially older white people.... They have done nothing over the course of this campaign, it seems, to make themselves more favorably viewed upon by Latino voters, more favorably viewed upon by young voters."

Critics who say the press gives Mr. Obama a pass on the killing of an American terrorist overseas or on failure to close the Guantánamo detention facility in Cuba:

"There is not as much of a reaction to that amongst the press and amongst the public because the expectation was that Obama would not be tough enough. With [President] Bush, the query was how far is he going over the line."

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