Mitt Romney's gender gap is growing. The latest evidence comes from a new USA Today-Gallup poll, released Monday, that shows President Obama with a substantial lead over Republican front-runner Romney in a dozen swing states, largely because of Obama's popularity among women.
Overall, Obama leads Romney among women in those states, 54 percent to 36 percent. The two candidates are in a statistical dead heat among men.
Among women under age 50, Obama's support increased to more than 60 percent from under 50 percent in mid-February. This was Obama's biggest gain in the gender wars. Among women under 50, Romney's support dropped to 30 percent from 44 percent.
Obama led among all voters in the dozen states, 51-42.
Much of the erosion in GOP support among women, pollsters say, is due to the Republican focus on social issues, such as limiting the availability of contraceptive services at medical facilities affiliated with religions that oppose those services. In contrast, women's highest priorities are job creation and strengthening the economy, pollsters say.
Romney, campaigning in Wisconsin, acknowledged the problem.
"We have work to do," Romney said, "to make sure we take our message to the women of America so they understand how we're going to get good jobs and we're going to have a bright economic future for them and for their kids, and make sure that these distractions that the Democrats throw in are clarified and the truth is heard."
To those ends, Romney, the former governor of Massachsetts, is expected to schedule more appearances by his wife, Ann, in the coming months to appeal to women and humanize the candidate.
The USA Today-Gallup poll was taken in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hamsphire, New Mexicio, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.