Why President Obama is Unlikely to Significantly Improve His Standing Among Male Voters

Earlier today, my good friend, OpinionJournal.com editor James Taranto’s responded to yesterday’s blog post — in which I argued that the only way President Obama can really win this election is by maintaining his strong position among women voters — with the following tweet:

James TarantoJames Taranto ‏ @jamestaranto

.@DouglasESchoen Or by improving his standing among male voters. Interesting that you imply that’s impossible.

12:04 PM – 14 Apr 12 via web

What follows are five arguments why it is unlikely — albeit to be fair, not impossible — that President Obama will be able to significantly improve his standing among male voters — and specifically among male independents and swing voters – substantiated by recent poll data as well as historical trends.
1.  Women have favored Democrats and men Republicans for decades

  • A recent report from the Pew Research Center on the gender gap in politics shows that women have voted for and/or identified with Democrats by such a margin for over 30 years
  • Even when Democratic candidates failed to garner a majority of the women’s vote – as in 1980, 1984 and 1988 – they still drew more support from women than from men.
  • The gender gap in 2008 – the seven-point difference between women and men in support for the Democratic candidate – was comparable to the gap in most elections since 1980.

2.  Obama weak among males


  • Obama’s margin among male voters overall was 49%-48% (vs. 56%-43% among females)
  • White males voted McCain 57%-41%

2012 Election Campaign Tracking Polls

  • Horserace:  wash post poll finds Romney leading by 8 points among men
  • Job approval:   Fox News Poll released last month, only 43 percent of men said they approved of the job Obama was doing — 51 percent disapproved.

3.  Dissatisfaction with Obama runs deeper among men when it comes to issues of the economy and the deficit

Rasmussen Reports

  • Overall voters trust Romney over Obama on economy 49%-39%/ among males 53%-34%.
  • Males trust Romney more on taxes 50%-40%
  • Males trust Romney more on energy policy 50%-41%.
  • Males trust Romney more on healthcare 49%-37%.
  • Overall electorate trust Obama more on national security 45%-42%, but males are evenly divided 45%-45% for both candidates.

4.  Obama’s message of taxing the rich to help the middle class may rally his base, but not responsive to concerns of independent voters

Swing Voters care about deficit & economic growth

  • According to the results of a new survey of swing state independent voters commissioned by Third Way, their top economic concerns are the deficit, growth and jobs, not economic equality
  • Third Way Poll of Independent Swing Voters  found that the “fairness argument,” which some Democrats have advocated as a message for the 2012 election, does not resonate with swing independents. This segment of voters does not consider income inequality a top concern, they generally think the existing system is fair, and they view themselves as haves, not have-nots.

Males prefer smaller government

  • In an October 2011 Pew survey, nearly half of the public (48%) favored a smaller government that provides fewer services.   While 45% of women preferred a bigger government with more services, fewer men agreed (36%).
  • That was in line with the gender differences on this issue dating back to at least 2000.

5.  Given weak economy, President Obama unlikely to improve standing among male swing voters & could lose male “Obama Independents”

“Obama Independents”

  • Independents who voted for Obama in 2008 are true swing voters
  • One-quarter voted Republican in 2010 and  one-quarter voted for President Bush in 2004.