Women’s issues: fringe or fundamental?


The Romney and Obama campaigns have both renewed their focus on courting female voters, but with starkly different messages. Their respective pitches to voters hinge on the importance of so-called women’s issues—such as abortion, pay equity, and equal work opportunities—relative to the economy.

In Wednesday’s debate, President Obama tied these issues to a family’s finances. He highlighted free mammograms provided by Planned Parenthood and said, “That’s a pocketbook issue for women and families all across the country.”

Team Romney, however is trying to separate these issues from the economy overall. Their campaign went up with a new TV ad (below) which features a woman talking about Governor Romney’s stances on abortion and contraception.

She concludes, “This issue’s important to me, but I’m more concerned about the debt our children will be left with.” She says she supported President Obama in 2008, but “we just can’t afford four more years.”

And a top Romney surrogate, Kerry Healey, on Wednesday told msnbc’s Andrea Mitchell that contraception is “peripheral” to the race.

Will female voters decide these issues are independent or intertwined? That could decide if this election breaks solely on which candidate is better on the economy, or whether these social issues will move the needle.

Women's issues: fringe or fundamental?