The Hill Twists Stats on Election's 'Gender Gap'
The Hill.com is playing a disingenuous game to promote the meme that the primary reason Mitt Romney lost the election was the women’s vote. Noting the fact that according to the Gallup poll, Barack Obama won women by 12 points and Romney won men by eight, the Hill trumpeted “Gallup: 2012 election had the largest gender gap in recorded history.” Then the website parlayed the statistics into a monologue about women’s issues:
The politics of gender played a significant role throughout the 2012 election, as Romney looked to cut into Obama’s advantage among female voters by framing the economy as a women’s issue. The strategy worked for a while, as polls showed women flocking to the GOP challenger after his strong first debate performance. But Romney was unable to hold on to those gains in the final weeks of the campaign, and the Obama campaign relentlessly portrayed the GOP candidate as a throwback to the 1950s in his views on women's reproductive and pay equity issues. Romney may also have been hurt by two Republican House candidates, former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) and Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Both Senate candidates, who lost their election bids, made controversial comments about rape and abortion that reignited the Democratic line of attack from earlier in the cycle that the GOP is looking to “turn back the clock” on women’s issues.
Here’s the problem with the Hill’s not-so-incisive analysis: in 2008, the “gender gap" was 14; Obama won women by 14 points and he and John McCain split men’s votes. Thus the math whizzes at the Hill claim the gender gap was 20 points in 2012 and only 14 in 2008 but ignore the fact that Romney did better with men and women than McCain. The two-point differential with women was dwarfed by the fact that Romney did far better among men.
That’s the salient point here, that the issues that defeated Romney were not gender-based. It was the sheer number of base turnout voters from the Obama campaign that defeated Romney.