In probably what is the least shocking bit of public polling you can imagine, the numbers show that the GOP is losing women.
When the Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey asked last summer which party should control Congress, a slim 46-42 percent plurality of women said it should be the Democrats.Some Republicans, namely those in leadership whose jobs and fortunes depend on how well they lead their party into the next election, do indeed wish they'd never gotten into the birth control fight. But they did, with guns blazing, and trying to back away from it now might temporarily change the subject—but not women's minds.
But in a survey released Monday, compiling polling 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. [...]
A prominent GOP strategist, who requested anonymity to discuss the party’s situation frankly, said: “It’s devastating. I don’t think it’s going to go away. I think it’s going to be a significant challenge the Republican nominee is going to inherit.”
Which isn't to say that Democrats should get an easy pass from women voters in 2012. We've experienced a tremendous loss of ground, particularly in reproductive rights, over the last decades. The recession has also created tremendous hardships for women that often aren't addressed specifically. Cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are also particularly relevant to women.
Now—with the spotlight so clearly on the GOP's antiquated gender platform—is exactly the right moment for Democrats to start talking specifically to the issues that are so critical to women, and to reverse the backslide on those policy issues.