There is often a gender gap between the two political parties, with woman voters tending to favor the Democrats while a majority of men support Republican candidates. In recent weeks, however, as the Republican Party has become embroiled in the contraception issue, that gap has widened into an abyss.
A survey of a dozen swing states taken by USA Today shows President Obama leading Republican front-runner Mitt Romney by 51% to 42% among registered voters, just a month after having trailed by two points. Most of that change comes from women under 50, who now support Obama over Romney by roughly 60% to 30%, while in mid-February, the figures were more equal.
Obama now leads Romney among all women by 18 points and trails him among all men by just a single point. Romney is strongly favored only among men over 50, with whom he has a lead of 56% to 38%.
The poll found that the gender gap also extends to party identification, with women describing themselves as Democrats by a wide margin of 41% to 24%. Men were more likely to identify as Republicans, but only by 27% to 25%.