Obama's Female Problem
Barack Obama’s favorability ratings among white women has declined significantly in recent months, particularly among Democrats and independents, presenting an immediate obstacle for the likely Democratic nominee as he moves to shore up his party’s base.
According to a new report by The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, half of white women now have a negative perception of Obama. Forty-nine percent of white women view Obama unfavorably, while only 43 percent hold a favorable opinion.
In February, 36 percent of these women viewed Obama unfavorably, while 56 percent had a positive perception of the likely Democratic nominee. Over the same period, Democratic white women’s negative view of Obama increased from 21 percent to 35 percent, while their positive view decreased from 72 percent to 60 percent — roughly the same rate as white women overall.
White men, in general and among Democrats, have shown only a slight drop-off in their perception of Obama — one-third of the shift seen in white women. About 20 percent of Democratic white men have an unfavorable view of Obama, a figure which has remained stable since February.
Pew also found that among self-described Clinton supporters, the negative shift against Obama is more severe among women than among men.
It's actually worse than it appears. The Democrats have won the women's vote consistently since 1980. They need at least 55% of that vote, on average, to win the presidency. Obama is getting nowhere near that and may even lose the women's vote to McCain unless he can figure a way to bring them into his camp.
Hillary Clinton could no doubt help him there. But will she be willing? There are open questions now about just how much Hillary will campaign for Obama after this brutal primary campaign. How much she gives the nominee and whether her heart is in it or not will probably tell the tale in November.