Republicans have a woman problem that Romney must take seriously

A March survey by the Pew Research Center found Obama and Romney tied among men nationally, but Obama leading among women by 20 percentage points. A USA Today/Gallup poll of voters in Florida and 11 other swing states that was released last week found Obama leading Romney among women by 18 percentage points.

The biggest threat to Mitt Romney’s presidential prospects may not be his penchant for gaffes. Or President Barack Obama’s flush campaign account. It’s certainly not Rick Santorum.

The biggest threat may turn out to be people like St. Petersburg retiree Lorraine McCann, who started volunteering for the Obama campaign in February when Planned Parenthood and women’s health care suddenly became a central issue in the country’s political debate.

“It was the information in the news about these Republican politicians, talking, almost obsessively, about contraception,” said McCann, 66. “It just blows me away. It’s almost like they’re dinosaurs. … I can tell you there’s an army of us women who feel the same way. I hear about it every day.”

The Republican Party has a serious woman problem.

Democrats typically fare better than Republicans with female voters in national elections, but a series of recent national polls show that the gender gap has become enormous.

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