“War on Women” punches are not packing the same heat they did last cycle, a CNN analysis highlights.
Republicans have worked to wring out the propensity for 2012 candidate missteps — recall “legitimate rape,” “binders full of women’ — and offered voters ore female GOP candidates, CNN’s Stephen Collinson notes, creating a more difficult environment for Democrats to attack them as anti-woman.
“The strategy seems to be paying off,” Collinson writes, going on to quote National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill who explained that issues like Ebola and ISIS have received more attention than the social issues.
“They have learned their lessons from 2012,” O’Neill told Collinson.
Director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University Jennifer Lawless added that the fewer mistakes GOP candidates make that more difficult it is to attack them as anti-woman.
“The gender gap is smaller when Republicans don’t make mistakes,” Lawless said to Collinson. “Republicans this time have managed to neutralize their deficiencies in this area so the war on women rhetoric does not resonate so much.”
And while the GOP has appeared to tamp down the “war on woman” attacks, there are still Democratic candidates working from that 2012 playbook.
Collinson points to a number of tight races where that line of attack is falling flat — such as the race for U.S. Senate in Colorado between Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) where Udall’s abortion/birth control attacks have earned him the name “Senator Uterus.” Udall however still only holds a slight lead over Gardner among women and trails in overall polling due to a double-digit deficit of support among men.
The CNN reporter further highlighted the GOP female candidates who are putting up strong fights in Iowa and Michigan, Joni Ernst and Terri Lynn Land respectively. As well as in Kentucky where Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is essentially tied with his female, Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Collinson adds that there are a couple hold outs where women are swinging in bigger numbers for Democrats, but not necessarily because of the social issues, such as in North Carolina and Georgia.
“In each of these races, the rhetoric aimed at women is often more focused on pocketbook issues as opposed to the more hot-button subjects of abortion and contraception,” Collinson writes.
He concludes his analysis with hints that the trend might not carry into 2016, especially if Hillary Clinton runs.