Says Rasmussen, in its announcement of the daily presidential tracking poll. The basic numbers are the same as yesterday: Romney 48%, Obama 44%. This is the first day in which the tracking poll — which includes 3 days — is based entirely on post-convention polling.
I'm very interested in the way the gender politics game is playing out. It seems that the Democrats have pushed very hard making a special offer to women — positing a "war on women" and so forth. But they're only up one point with women, which seems to be less than the usual skewing of females toward the Democratic Party. One might anticipate that the war-on-women politics would repel some men, but it looks like it's failing to work on women too.
You've got Republicans getting a 10-point advantage in the gender gap, when it's the other party doing the gender politics. Does that mean gender politics is now a bad strategy? Not necessarily. Obama might be doing even worse without it. (That's an argument in the pattern of Obama's argument about the economy: You're not better off than you were 4 years ago, but the economy would have plunged worse without the help I've been providing.)
It's also possible that gender politics can work for the Democrats, but they haven't been doing it right this time. What's distinctive about the way they've been doing it in 2012?
First, they're doing it so intensely, with the "war" trope. That's not believable, and it makes it too obvious that they're mostly begging us to look at this and not the economy, when everyone — women included — thinks the economy is the main concern.
Second, they seem to be offering special benefits for women, rather than presenting general issues in an emotionally empathetic way that appeals to women. For example, in the past, we've seen Democrats talk about the wars in terms of tired, worn-out soldiers who need to be returned to the care of their families. This year, the Democrats are talking about seemingly free birth control treatments — something for women that men don't get.
Perhaps it's caring and altruism that resonates with women, not special benefits for us. We like to think of ourselves as unselfish, trying to help others. That's the classic pull of the liberal agenda. Maybe it doesn't work to give us stuff. You need to make us feel that we are giving.
If you're going to pander, you have to pander the right way.