This morning, the Wall Street Journal reports on a stunning development in three key Senate races. In Colorado, Iowa, and Arkansas, the gender gap is shifting against the Democrats.
In a warning flag for Democrats, recent polls suggest the party is failing to draw enough support from women in three key Senate races—in Iowa, Arkansas and Colorado—to offset the strong backing that men are giving to Republicans.
Surveys this week in Arkansas and Colorado for the first time also showed the GOP candidates pulling even or ahead of Democrats among women voters, threatening to close the gender gap that has been a cornerstone of Democratic electoral strategy for decades. While the situation remains fluid, an erosion in the Democrats’ traditionally large advantage among women would be perilous for the party, especially in an election year in which men, who favor Republicans overall, are showing a greater enthusiasm for voting. Democrats are making a particular effort to mobilize unmarried women—their strongest supporters, but a group that tends to skip midterm elections. However, the rise of national-security concerns and low approval ratings for President Barack Obama may undercut that effort.
In a recent interview with The Federalist, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus made the case that the “war on women” has essentially played itself out over the course of the 2014 cycle, as vulnerable Democrats doubled down on it one too many times and Republicans learned to fight back against the idea.
“If you’re just going to sit there and be a duck in a pond and take incoming hits and not respond, then you’re going to get what you deserve,” Priebus said.
Priebus cited Colorado candidate Cory Gardner as a leading example of this.
“I think in the case of Cory Gardner, number one, he responded quickly and swiftly. Number two, people didn’t believe it. They saw Cory Gardner on TV. They saw the ads and they looked at this person and his family and they said this doesn’t seem like a guy that wants to ruin my life,” Priebus said.
“Then what happened was Mark Udall tripled down on the whole war on women to the point that it was a comedy,” Priebus said. “He’s turned his campaign into something that you would read on The Onion. When the Denver Post comes out and basically says that you’ve turned yourself into a joke over this war on women, you know you’ve overplayed your hand.”
The RNC Chairman thinks the approach has failed so obviously that it may not even be attempted in the future.
“I think they’ve done it so badly. They’ve even tried to do it to Scott Brown. Scott Brown’s pro-choice, for crying out loud. It’s just ridiculous,” Priebus said. “They may have inoculated the entire issue for the future. They went too far, and they’re going to pay in a couple places for it.”