Mitt Romney has closed a 16-point gender gap with President Obama among women in just one month, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll released on Thursday.
Now tied with Obama at 47 percent among women, Romney has closed what was once a double-digit lead for the president. Additionally, women now view Romney as the better economic candidate, 49 percent to Obama's 45 percent. Just a month ago, Obama was favored over Romney 56 percent to 40 percent.
However, among men, Obama has closed the 13-point gap that existed a month ago. Romney’s lead among male voters is now just five percentage points, according to the poll. In the 2008 election, Obama edged Sen. John McCain by one percentage point among male voters at 49 percent. Throughout his term in office, men have typically disapproved of the president’s performance more than women.
Both presidential candidates have made a strong pitch to women during the election. While Romney claims women have been devastated by a weak economy under the current president, Obama has tried to bring abortion rights, contraception and equal pay to the forefront.
The poll also shows what other national polls have showed in recent days: the race is in a virtual tie with less than two weeks until the election. Romney has a slight lead, though within the margin of error, at 47 percent to Obama’s 45 percent among likely voters.
Voters are also more optimistic about the economy over the next year, as nearly six-in-ten likely voters see improvement. Last month, that number was 46 percent. The number of likely voters who think the unemployment rate will drop next year also rose 10 points to 42 percent.
With a strong performance in the first debate, Romney likeability increased, tightening the race in several swing states and nationally. However, Obama’s lead in several swing states, most importantly Ohio, is troublesome for the Romney campaign.
This gap among women voters became more pronounced after comments from Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., on so-called “legitimate rape” in August. It is unclear whether the latest comments from Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock will have any effect on the female vote. The Obama campaign has attempted to tie Romney to Mourdock after the Republican nominee cut an ad for him earlier in the week.
“These various distinctions about rape don’t make too much sense to me, don’t make any sense to me,” Obama said Wednesday on NBC’s The Tonight Show.
The poll was conducted between Oct. 19 and Oct. 23 among 1,186 adults, which included 839 likely voters. The margin of error for the full sample was 3.5 percentage points, while the margin of likely voters was 4.2 percentage points.