After losing support from women just before the new year began, AP reports that President Obama's standing with female voters is strengthening in polls. The constituency was key for Obama in 2008 but swinged to Republicans in the 2010 midterms. However, AP reports that the voting bloc has once again shifted as the presidential campaign has turned to talk on social issues:
"'Republicans are making a big mistake with this contraception talk, and I'm pretty sure that they are giving (the election) to Obama,' says Patricia Speyerer, 87, of Macomb, Miss., a GOP-leaning independent. 'It's a stupid thing.'
The recent furor over whether religious employers should be forced to pay for their workers' contraception is certainly a factor but hardly the only reason for women warming up to Obama again after turning away from him late last year.
An Associated Press-GfK poll suggests women also are giving the president more credit than men are for the country's economic turnaround.
Among women, his approval ratings on handling the economy and unemployment have jumped by 10 percentage points since December. Back then, a wide swath of Americans expressed anxiety over the nation's slow climb out of recession and anger at a government that couldn't agree on steps to speed things up.
Since then, the unemployment rate has kept declining, and Obama hasn't been shy about trumpeting it, and analysts say that drop may have resonated particularly with women."
An AP-GfK poll conducted between February 16-20 showed that on overall approval Obama has gained 10 percentage points among women since December, from 43 percent to 53 percent, even though his administration seemed to stumble over whether religious employers should be forced to pay for contraception.
AP reports that women also are the reason behind Obama's lead over Republican hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. In one-on-one matchups, Obama beats Romney 54 percent to 41 percent and tops Santorum 56 percent to 40 percent among women, but virtually ties each Republican among men.
While Obama may have made critical ground with women thanks to public perception that Republicans may somehow outlaw birth control, despite various comments indicating they have plans to do so in the oval office, the President still hasn't won over Americans who believe his 2010 Healthcare reform law is unconstitutional.
A new Gallup poll released Monday shows that that Republicans hold their negative opinions of the law far more confidently than Democrats support it, and voters in swing-states are especially skeptical of the massive legislation's need and effectiveness two years after it's passage.
The Hill reports that more than half — 53 percent — of voters in swing states and half of voters nationwide perceive the Affordable Care Act negatively, versus just 38 percent of voters in swing states and 42 percent of voters nationwide who view the healthcare legislation favorably.
Americans are split on whether passing the bill in the first place was worth it, with 45 percent saying it was a good thing and 44 percent saying bad, and seven out of ten say the law is yet to have any effect on them personally.
In the long run, only 24 percent of Americans think the legislation will make their family's healthcare situation better while 38 percent believe it will make things worse. Thirty-four percent do not expect it to make much difference.
With the Supreme Court to hear legal challenges to the healthcare law next moth focused on the law's requirement that all Americans purchase health insurance or pay a fine, the Gallup survey indicates that Americans overwhelmingly believe that the "individual mandate," as it is often called, is unconstitutional, by a margin of 72% to 20%.
Gallup writes that even a majority of Democrats, and a majority of those who think the healthcare law is a good thing, believe that provision is unconstitutional.