On Monday the New York Times offered yet another unsubstantiated tale of the GOP scaring away female voters. Reporter Ashley Parker's story, under the headline "Romneys Court Women Alienated by Contraception Issue," not only fails to back up the headline, but contradicts itself.
The paper's own recent poll finding, buried by the paper last week, found most women oppose the Obamacare mandate that religious institutions provide contraception coverage. That tidbit from the poll didn't make it into Parker's story. And Parker didn't seem to realize the implications of a poll result she did cite: Social conservative candidate Rick Santorum is far ahead of the more moderate Mitt Romney among female Republican primary voters. If the paper's headline were true, wouldn't those "alienated women" be flocking to moderate Mitt instead of scary Santorum?
With the Republican nominating fight turning into a protracted slog for delegates that could potentially last all the way to the convention, Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, made an appeal on Sunday morning to a coveted group of swing voters in an effort to win the Illinois primary: women.
Unlike the headline, the text is suspiciously vague, implying that the fight over birth control and abortion is hurting the GOP, but never stating it directly, because the paper's own poll shows otherwise.
The Romney campaign is seeking to repair the political damage with women voters that advisers acknowledge has been inflicted by the Republican nominating fight.
In February, women were evenly divided between Mr. Romney and his chief rival, Rick Santorum. But in the most recent New York Times/CBS News national poll, among Republican primary voters, 41 percent of women backed Mr. Santorum and 27 percent favored Mr. Romney.
Mr. Romney is often introduced by his wife at political events, but her role has taken on greater meaning as the campaign looks ahead to independent voters, particularly women, who polls show have been put off by the candidates’ rightward shift on immigration and social issues.
Parker only hinted that not all women are "alienated" by the Republican message.
While women are hardly monolithic in their politics, the Romney campaign is urgently trying to shift the conversation back to the economy from more divisive social issues.