-- An ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday shows female voters play a significant role in President Barack Obama's current lead over Mitt Romney among 2012 voters. Tuesday's poll is the second major national poll in recent weeks pointing to a gender gap.
Obama led Romney 57 to 38 percent among registered female voters surveyed, the president's largest margin among women to date, according to Langer Research Associates ( pdf), which produced the April 5-8 poll for ABC.
Romney led Obama among men, 52 to 44 percent, but that wasn't enough to blunt the edge provided by the president's female support. When voters of both genders surveyed were grouped together, Obama led Romney 51 to 44 percent.
Participants were also asked to rate the candidates on a dozen issues. Obama tested best among all voters on his ability to handle "women's issues," leading Romney by 19 points. And women alone did not account for the margin: Obama held a 10-point lead on women's issues among men surveyed. Among women surveyed, the president's lead on women's issues was 27 points.
The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
A gender gap also bears out in Obama's approval ratings in the ABC/Post poll. The president garnered a 56 percent approval rating from women surveyed and a 43 percent rating from men, a "record" for ABC/Post polls, according to Langer Research.
Tuesday's survey follows a widely-reported USA Today/Gallup Poll released April 2 that showed Obama leading Romney by 18 percentage points among female registered voters in the nation's top 12 battleground states. The biggest shifts in Obama's favor occurred among women under 50, USA Today reported, as Romney's support among that demographic dropped.
Political analyst Stu Rothenberg wrote Tuesday that it should be noted that the gender gap trends in the USA Today/Gallup poll only bore out in their survey of swing states, and that it was Romney's losses, not Obama's gains that contributed to this shift among female voters.
But Tuesday's ABC/Post poll showed a clear positive shift among female voters in terms of both Obama's approval and voter preference. Obama received a 50 percent approval rating among women in the March 10 poll, according to Langer Research, up from just over 40 percent approval in October.
White women specifically shifted towards Obama since that March poll. "White women then favored Romney over Obama by 55-38 percent; today they divide evenly, 47-48 percent," Langer Research wrote.
The president directly reached out to women last week, holding an economic forum related to women Friday at the same time the Democratic Party is actively arguing that Republicans have waged a war on women.
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