Pollsters say there are slightly more women than men in the ranks of voters who plan to cast a ballot in this fall’s election, but haven’t decided which presidential candidate to support.
Both campaigns are making direct appeals to that block of women voters. President Obama’s campaign has been running ads in Iowa featuring women criticizing Republican rival Mitt Romney’s vow to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood. The Romney campaign has just unveiled a “Leadership Team of Iowa Women for Mitt” and former Ambassador Mary Kramer of West Des Moines — a former president of the state senate — is co-chair of the effort.
“The Obama campaign is doing its best to segment us as citizens, to divide us — purposefully — to divert us from what are the real issues: debt, spending,” Kramer said Wednesday afternoon during a news conference on the steps of the statehouse.
State Representative Renee Schulte, a Republican from Cedar Rapids who has supported Romney since 2007, said as she knocks on doors in her district, she’s found that women voters are closely following the presidential campaign.
“Though the roles of women in our society are as diverse as the women who occupy them, we are still worried about our families,” Schulte said. “Right now, in the Obama Administration, we’ve lost over 400,000 jobs since he began office for women and seven million women are out of work at this difficult time.”
Schulte said the Romney campaign is “going on offense” in making a direct appeal to women voters.
The Obama campaign deployed its top female surrogate in Iowa on Wednesday. About 66 percent of people recently surveyed by the Gallup organization said they had a favorable impression of Michelle Obama. During speeches on the campaign trail, she talks about the other women in the president’s life, like his mother and grandmother.
“He knows what it means to want something better for your kids and your grandkids,” Michelle Obama said in Dubuque Wednesday afternoon.
To highligh her husband’s signature on the 2009 Fair Pay Act, the first lady also talks about the bank job his grandmother had.
“Even though Barack’s grandmother worked hard to help support his family and she was good at her job, she hit that glass ceiling and watched men no more qualified than she was — men she’d actually trained — climb up that ladder ahead of her,” Michelle Obama said. “So what I remind people is your president knows what it means when a family struggles.”
Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds offered this rebuttal: “Equal pay doesn’t matter if you don’t have a job.”
Reynolds told reporters Obama has been “attacking” the country’s “job creators” while Romney would create “an environment condusive for job growth.”
The latest poll released in Iowa showed Romney leading Obama among male voters by 11 points, but Obama was holding an eight point edge over Romney among women voters.