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Polls Show Voters Split Along Gender Lines

Obama supporter; photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A woman holds a sign at an Obama campaign event last week in Boca Raton, Fla. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

The Morning Line

On the eve of the first presidential debate, a pair of new national polls find President Obama and Mitt Romney locked in a close race with support for the two candidates divided sharply along gender lines.

The president leads Romney, 49 percent to 45 percent, among likely voters in a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday, buoyed by an 18-point advantage, 56 percent to 38 percent, among women. Romney has a 10-point lead among men, 52 percent to 42 percent. The poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.2 percent.

A CNN survey released Monday also showed a gender gap, although not as wide, with the president ahead nine points among women (53 percent to 44 percent) and Romney with a three-point lead among men (50 percent to 47 percent).

Overall the president had a 50 percent to 47 percent lead over Romney, within the poll’s sampling error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percent.

In Monday’s edition of the Morning Line we mentioned the efforts by both campaigns to set expectations ahead of the first debate and highlighted a Washington Post/ABC News poll showing the president as the clear favorite. The Quinnipiac survey affirmed that finding, with 54 percent of voters saying they expected Mr. Obama to win, compared to 28 percent who picked Romney.

The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser writes Tuesday about what he dubs instructive parallels between this contest and how Romney turned around his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, thanks in part to debates and erasing a similar gender gap between himself and his rival.

On Monday’s NewsHour, Judy Woodruff, USA Today’s Susan Page and Stuart Rothenberg examined what the candidates must do on that debate stage. Watch that segment here or below:

Kwame Holman talked with deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest about how the president prepares for debates. Watch that chat here.


As the Supreme Court began its new term Monday, Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal outlined what’s at stake with an Affirmative Action case being argued next week and what’s ahead for this session.

Among the most-watched potential cases are the seven petitions involving gay marriage issues. Marcia said those “really break down into two cases. First, challenges involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act. A key provision defines marriage for all federal purposes as between a man and a woman. And then the second set involves California’s Proposition 8. And that proposition banned same-sex marriage in California.”

Marcia also said there seems to be no residual tension after Chief Justice John Roberts drew the ire of conservative members of the court for voting to uphold the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act. “This was a court that was business as usual,” she said.

I can tell you just from personal experience, I remember Bush v. Gore and the aftermath. That decision, there was a lot of bitterness and anger. And yet the court moved very quickly into doing business.

Under the Roberts court, the high point I think for the emotion and anger was the last day of the 2006-07 term, when they issued a ruling again on race involving whether school districts could use race to assign students to public schools.

But over the summer, that dissipated as well. And as one of the justices said, we move on.

And this court does. It actually has almost two decades now of being perhaps the most collegial court in modern times.

Watch the discussion here or below:

NewsHour politics desk assistant Geoffrey Lou Guray posted more details about the cases on the docket.


The presidential campaigns are spending eight times more money this year on Spanish-language ads than in 2008, according to data compiled by Kantar Media/CMAG for the NewsHour and NPR.

NPR’s Greg Allen will have a piece Tuesday that looks at the impact of those ads in Raleigh, N.C., where the Hispanic population is booming. This critical demographic group — the media age of these residents there is 23 — is being targeted by both sides. The unemployment rate among Hispanics is higher than the national average.

The NewsHour will have more Tuesday night on Greg’s reporting and the messages of those advertisements.


Tuesday’s tidbit from NewsHour partner Face the Facts focuses on the federal workforce: It’s often labeled as a bloated entity, but the nonpartisan organization did the research and found that the federal government “employs 600,000 fewer workers today than the average for the past 50 years.”


The NewsHour has started an issues series that dives deep into the policy proposals shaping the presidential battle. We began with an in-depth piece on Medicaid and what each ticket would do about the government program.

Watch Hari Sreenivasan’s report here or below:

Here’s a companion piece from Kaiser Health News.


  • Tune-in to Tuesday’s NewsHour for Jeffrey Brown’s look at the enthusiasm among African-American voters in North Carolina.
  • Romney told the Denver Post on Monday that his administration would not deport the children of illegal immigrants allowed to stay in the United States under an executive order issued earlier this year by President Obama.
  • Politico’s James Hohmann and John Harris list the 10 quotes that haunt the president heading into the debate.
  • Dave Levinthal of Politico looks at how the campaigns are trying to attract small donors.
  • The Washington Post’s David Farenthold examines one common type of election fraud: selling votes.
  • Politico profiles Jill Biden as she steps up her role on the campaign trail.
  • NewsHour politics production assistant Allie Morris is shining a spotlight on voters across the country with a new “Listen to Me” feature on our web site. Here’s her first piece, starring Colorado residents. We’ll have more of them all week. The NewsHour is asking voters three simple questions this election year.
  • NewsHour’s Leah Clapman details how the presidential debates can be useful in the classroom.



  • The New York Times’ Katharine Seelye recaps the spirited Massachusetts Senate debate Monday night between GOP Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. In his Boston Globe analysis piece, Glen Johnson looks at the “illuminating stumbles” on the part of the two candidates.
  • Republican Deb Fischer and Democrat Bob Kerrey faced off Monday in the final debate of the Nebraska Senate contest. The Omaha World-Herald’s Robynn Tysver reports that the candidates sparred over global warming and partisanship.
  • Former NewsHour foreign affairs editor Michael Mossettig makes a cameo on the Rundown with a piece about the Chinese economy.
  • Roll Call’s Shira Toeplitz ticks off 10 downticket races in which early voting will matter.
  • Lila Shapiro explores for Huffington Post the future of the gay Republican movement.
  • The White House was hacked.
  • The NewsHour previewed the new, powerful PBS documentary “Half the Sky” with filmmakers Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn. Don’t miss it.
  • The Washington Post has a major piece about the Obama administration’s efforts to fight al Qaeda in North Africa.
  • As Senate Republicans jockey for leadership positions, all eyes are on Sen. John Thune of North Dakota, writes Roll Call’s Humberto Sanchez.


All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama is in Henderson, Nev., for debate prep with no public events scheduled.
  • Mitt Romney is in Denver for debate prep with no public events scheduled.
  • Vice President Biden campaigns in North Carolina with an event in Charlotte at 11 a.m. and in Asheville at 3:30 p.m.
  • Paul Ryan campaigns in Iowa with stops in Clinton at 10:10 a.m., Muscatine at 12:50 p.m. and Burlington at 3:50 p.m.
  • Michelle Obama attends an event in Cincinnati at 2:15 p.m.
  • Ann Romney holds an event in Littleton, Colo., at 4:50 p.m.

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.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon, @dePeystah, @meenaganesan and @abbruns.

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