What we have here is buyer’s remorse.

Weeks of bizarre talk about contraception and vaginal ultrasounds has surprisingly alienated women from the Republican Party.

USA Today (“Swing States Poll: A shift by women puts Obama in lead“):

President Obama has opened the first significant lead of the 2012 campaign in the nation’s dozen top battleground states, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, boosted by a huge shift of women to his side.

In the fifth Swing States survey taken since last fall, Obama leads Republican front-runner Mitt Romney 51%-42% among registered voters just a month after the president had trailed him by two percentage points.

The biggest change came among women under 50. In mid-February, just under half of those voters supported Obama. Now more than six in 10 do while Romney’s support among them has dropped by 14 points, to 30%. The president leads him 2-1 in this group.

Romney’s main advantage is among men 50 and older, swamping Obama 56%-38%.

Republicans’ traditional strength among men “won’t be good enough if we’re losing women by nine points or 10 points,” says Sara Taylor Fagen, a Republican strategist and former political adviser to President George W. Bush. “The focus on contraception has not been a good one for us … and Republicans have unfairly taken on water on this issue.”

In the poll, Romney leads among all men by a single point, but the president leads among women by 18. That reflects a greater disparity between the views of men and women than the 12-point gender gap in the 2008 election.


Romney pollster Neil Newhouse predicts the gender gap will narrow as Romney moves from the pitched battle of the GOP primaries — Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia vote Tuesday — to a fall election focused on economic issues.

“If there’s a gender gap, it goes beyond Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum to a partisan gender gap,” Newhouse said in an interview. “It’s not Romney-specific. I would argue that it’s broader than that.”

Full disclosure: Neil’s a close family friend. And he’s been Romney’s pollster for many years, so he’s obviously biased in his analysis. That said, he’s right here. Indeed, I’d argue that this is both a longstanding Republican problem and a specific outgrowth of the current campaign and has almost nothing to do with Romney per se.


(Shaking head)

Here it is, gang….
I’ve said all along Romney wasn’t a strong enough candidate…. the GOP establishment… and people like Doug, frankly, chased away the best of them, and what we have left…. well….

Of course this has been happening ever since Reagan…. where every candidate the GOP has been coming up with has been a weak-kneed centrist, like Romney.  Bob Dole? Both Bushes? McCain? really? These are really the strongest proponents of conservatism the party can find?

Reagan’s winning, because of, not in spite of his very vocal social conservatism, you see, to today’s GOP leadership, is just an aberration. Forget that the same cries from the social liberals of that day were drowned out by the vast majority of voters. And remember, gang, the GOP establishment wasn’t happy, even back in the day, that Reagan won.

The establishment GOP keeps ignoring these facts, and they keep coming up with the same result. And it’s happening again.

The rank and file knows it, and so do the independent voters. YOU don’t. At least, you can’t bring yourself to admit it.

Congrats, centrists. You’ve done it yet again.

Instead of coming out strongly with the social conservative values of mainstream America, your pre-annointed boy backed away trying to save the mythical center, when the liberal media, in the form of Clintonita George Stephanopoulos, started playing the birth control game. To his credit, Romeny’s people identified the attack…. at least by the next debate.

ROMNEY: John, what’s happened — and you recall back in the debate that we had George Stephanopoulos talking out about birth control, we wondered why in the world did contraception — and it’s like, why is he going there? Well, we found out when Barack Obama continued his attack on religious conscience.

I don’t think we’ve seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we’ve seen under Barack Obama. Most recently, of course —


ROMNEY: — most recently requiring the Catholic Church to provide for its employees and its various enterprises health care insurance that would include birth control, sterilization and the morning-after pill. Unbelievable.

And he retried to retreat from that but he retreated in a way that was not appropriate, because these insurance companies now have to provide these same things and obviously the Catholic Church will end up paying for them.

But don’t forget the decision just before this, where he said the government — not a church, but the government should have the right to determine who a church’s ministers are for the purposes of determining whether they’re exempt from EEOC or from workforce laws or labor laws.

He said the government should make that choice. That went all the way to the Supreme Court. There are a few liberals on the Supreme Court. They voted 9-0 against President Obama. His position —


ROMNEY: — his position — his position on religious tolerance, on religious conscience is clear, and it’s one of the reasons the people in this country are saying we want to have a president who will stand up and fight for the rights under our Constitution, our first right, which is for freedom of religion.

Thing is, the response, while correctly programmed, was far too late to do much about it. That’s what happens when you have someone like Romney who speaks conservatism as a second language, and even then not very well. Stephy should have been called down then and there. Romney couldn’t find it in himself to do it.

The stupidity, Doug, is not recognizing that voters know.. and dislike it… when the candidates biggest talents are playing both sides against the middle. And that’s all the GOP’s been able to do since the 80’s. And if they can’t do better than that, they deserve to lose.