Via the Washington Post, but even so this is not, perhaps, the most surprising news:
The fragile gains Republicans had been making among female voters have been erased, a shift that has coincided with what has become a national shouting match over reproductive issues, potentially handing President Obama and the Democrats an enormous advantage this fall.
In the 2010 congressional midterm elections, Republican candidates ran evenly with Democrats among women, a break with long-established trends. That was a major reason the GOP regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Now, female voters appear to be swinging back to Democrats.
A number of polls show that Obama’s approval among women has risen significantly since December, even as it has remained flat among men. The same trend, which began before the controversy in recent weeks, is also showing up further down the ballot.
When a Wall Street Journal-NBC News survey asked in the summer which party should control Congress, 46 percent of women favored Democrats and 42 percent preferred Republican control.
But in a survey released Monday, compiling data since the beginning of the year, that figure had widened considerably to a 15-point advantage for the Democrats, according to polling by the team of Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican Bill McInturff. Fifty-one percent favored Democratic control; only 36 percent wanted to see the Republicans in charge…
Both sides have tried to shape the narrative in this battle for and about women. But many Republicans are beginning to wish they had never waded into what has become a heated conversation over contraception, who should have it and what it says about people who use it.
GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s campaign, said Republicans need to return to pocketbook and fiscal issues. “We know what works,” she said, “and we need to get back to it.”
And even those who saw the “contraception” controversy as being over religious freedom rather than contraception should have realized the political dangers of the territory into which they were sailing, and navigated it with distinctly more skill than they have shown.
Terri Schiavo, part deux? We’ll have to see, but there can be no doubt that, under these circumstances, choosing Santorum, a character with strongly-held views on the , uh, perversity of contraception (“a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be”), as the GOP’s nominee would both drown out any argument over religious freedom and be an extraordinary act of electoral self-destruction.