It’s never a good thing to find yourself losing any group of voters by double digits. But it’s particularly dicey for GOP front-runner Mitt Romney to be losing women by 18 points.
President Obama leads Romney by 2-to-1 among women under 50, Susan Page of USA Today writes in a story about the paper’s latest survey of swing state voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The president holds a nine-point advantage for re-election at this early stage, the Gallup/USA Today poll shows.
From Page’s story:
"Obama campaign manager Jim Messina says Romney's promise to 'end Planned Parenthood' — the former Massachusetts governor says he wants to eliminate federal funding for the group — and his endorsement of an amendment that would allow employers to refuse to cover contraception in health care plans have created 'severe problems' for him in the general election.
"'Romney's run to the right may be winning him Tea Party votes,' Messina said in an interview, but he says it's demonstrated that 'American women can't trust Romney to stand up for them.'
"He adds: 'It would be hard for them to win if you have this kind of gender gap.'
"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.'"
Female voters will remain the prize for both campaigns this year, and that’s one reason the president recorded this video for Planned Parenthood members. He touches on the fights over contraception this year and says women are “half of this country” and are “perfectly capable of making their own choices on health.”
Team Obama has already signaled first lady Michelle Obama will be out on the trail in full force, and Lois Romano writes for Politico that it’s Ann Romney whom Democrats fear most.
LOOKING FOR A WISCONSIN WIN
Both the New York Times and Washington Post devoted Sunday front-page space to Romney’s attempts to seal the deal in Wisconsin.
Dan Balz’s story looked at how Romney has already pivoted to the general election and notes Newt Gingrich’s recent and subtle shift in language to say he’d back the front-runner should he secure the 1,144 delegates needed for the nod.
The story in the Times by Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg focuses on Republicans who are antsy about moving on to fighting Barack Obama.
A new poll from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling of Wisconsin Republicans finds Romney leading Rick Santorum, 43 percent to 36 percent, with Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 11 percent and Gingrich at 8 percent. The survey found that 63 percent of Wisconsin voters think Gingrich should drop out of the race. Romney is now leading among Tea Party voters there and in Maryland, where he dominates Santorum, 52 percent to 27 percent.
But the New York Times’ Nate Silver writes that even though Romney has an 88 percent chance of victory based on his projections, some Romney backers might feel complacent and stay home.
Santorum said on Fox News Sunday that he’s already looking past April. “The map in May looks good for us: Texas and Arkansas and West Virginia and North Carolina and Indiana, Kentucky,” he said.
SCOTUS HEALTH CARE: WHAT’S NEXT
On Friday's NewsHour, National Law Journal’s Marcia Coyle explained the Supreme Court’s decision-making process for the next few months. The secret vote among the justices last week isn’t necessarily the final say.
“There have been examples throughout history…of justices changing their minds,” Marcia said.
Watch the segment here or below.
Also on Friday, Mark Shields and David Brooks also weighed in on the court’s historic hearings.
“I can't tell you how many conservatives have told me this week, we were opposed to [Sonia] Sotomayor, but she's really good.," David said. "And they were really impressed with her. I thought [John] Roberts was very good. I think [Antonin] Scalia is always flamboyant, but also super-smart. But Sotomayor and [Elena] Kagan I think really showed on that public, or the newest justices, how smart they are."
Watch the segment here or below.
And don’t miss Gwen Ifill’s blog about the Supreme Court hearings.
ATTITUDES ON RACE
NewsHour desk assistant Ryan C. Brooks notes that the furor surrounding the case of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Florida teen who was shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, has brought the treatment of young black males by police, the media and the culture at large into the national conversation.
The Pew Research Center posted a commentary Friday based on two of its previous tallies regarding race in the United States, one in 2009 looking at nationwide attitudes about race and another in 2010 that asked how different groups view the portrayal of blacks in the media. The 2009 survey found that twice the number of whites as blacks trusted their local police force and that the proportion of blacks who do trust local police has not changed since a 1995 Pew survey. In 2010, Pew found nearly 58 percent of those surveyed thought that coverage of blacks by the media was too negative. Only 31 percent of whites thought that coverage was negative.
In the Pew Research Center’s most recent News Interest Index, African-Americans were far more likely to list the Martin shooting as their top story.
2012 LINE ITEMS
OUTSIDE THE LINES
- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will run in the June recall election against Gov. Scott Walker, a rematch for the two men.
- Politico reported that Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., paid back more than $14,000 Friday to the federal treasury “after a closer review of his 35-year career found he owed additional money for hotel stays in the Indianapolis area.” A look at his records “found he improperly billed taxpayers for his hotel stays for all but seven years during his time in office, amounting to $14,684.85.”
- “In the wake of the slaying of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, House Democrats are drafting legislation designed to prevent similar tragedies in the future,” Mike Lillis writes in The Hill.
- Sen. John Cornyn of Texas is poised to win the race for GOP Whip after Sen. Richard Burr abandoned his bid.
- Sen. David Vitter might be off the hook.
- Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., is keeping her campaign cash, prompting talk of a comeback one day.
- Morning Score reported that Americans United for Change and AFSCME will attack GOP Reps. Paul Ryan and Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, Chip Cravaack of Minnesota and Dan Benishek of Michigan in new TV ads about the Ryan budget.
- Roll Call’s Joshua Miller and David Drucker profile Eric Fehrnstrom, the top Romney aide who also advises Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass.
- In an especially amusing Doubleheader, Mark and David join Hari Sreenivasan to pick Mega Millions numbers. Spoiler alert: They didn’t win. (Terence, on vacation for two weeks, shot the video, which you can watch here.)
- Gwen (@pbsgwen) was on the Face the Nation roundtable on Sunday. Watch.
- Tune in to the NewsHour Monday night for a special piece produced by Stone Phillips about youth football and the dangers of hard hits. Here’s a preview.
- You can vote for your favorite politically themed Peeps dioramas here. There are four focused on Gingrich’s moon colony idea.
ON THE TRAIL
All events are listed in Eastern Time.
- Mitt Romney holds an event in Green Bay, Wis., at 12:35 p.m. and a town hall in Milwaukee at 4:45 p.m. Rep. Paul Ryan joins him at each.
- Rick Santorum holds events in Wisconsin: a 10 a.m. rally in Shawano, an event in Appleton at 12:30 p.m., goes bowling in Menasha at 1:30 p.m., holds a rally in Oshkosh at 3:30 p.m. and an event in Ripon at 5:30 p.m.
- Newt Gingrich holds a rally in Frederick, Md., at 11 a.m. and gives a speech there at 2 p.m.
- Ron Paul has no public campaign events scheduled.
All future events can be found on our Political Calendar.
For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.