Is the 'War on Women' Backfiring for Democrats?

With just over two weeks until the midterm elections, the "This Week" powerhouse roundtable discusses key battleground Senate races and the latest polling numbers for 2016.
9:01 | 10/19/14

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Transcript for Is the 'War on Women' Backfiring for Democrats?
Back now with our politics buzz board. Topping it off that strange opening to the Florida governor's debate. We have an extremely peculiar situation right now. Incumbent Rick Scott wasn't there protesting his opponent Charlie Crist's podium fan. The rules of the debate that I was shown by the Scott campaign say that there should be no fan. Are we really going to debate about a fan? Scott did eventually show up. I never said I wouldn't go on the stage. But could fangate actually tip a close race? Hillary Clinton hit the trail. Hello, Kentucky. Trying to help Alison Grimes beat gop leader Mitch Mcconnell. But will that star power make a difference now that Washington democrats have putted the plug on new ads for Grimes? Signaling the Kentucky senate race is probably a lost cause. With just 16 days to go, Colorado may also be breaking for the gop. With Cory Gardner now leading mark Udall. Your campaign has been so focused on women's issues that you've been dubbed mark uterus. So is the democrats' war on women's charge falling flat this year. Add it all up and Nate silver and his fivethirtyeight team gives republicans a 62% of taking the senate up 4 points from last week. A little more move many. I want to bring that question to Stephanie schriock. This idea that the war on women just isn't taking hold this year. Well, that's not what we're seeing at all. We're seeing continued large gender gaps in places like north Carolina, New Hampshire, you know, even in Wisconsin recently in the governor's race where not only is Scott brown or excuse me Scott walker, you know, he's starting to run away from his record because he knows that the policies that he has supported and the policies that the republicans have supported are so bad that they're trying to blur that they took these votes or they signed these bills. In some of these close races the gap is much smaller than it's been in past elections. Only in a few and the truth is, you know, we still see democrats definitely winning women across the country. No, they're not. They're winning single women and they're winning women as a cohort because of the disproportionate minority support. You have a horrible gender gap, men don't like you. We've got a double-digit men against Obama. And the female vote if you're married, if you have kids, all of that, those women are opposed to Obama who is on the ticket and the gap that we typically saw, I don't know what Numbers you're looking at. The ABC poll has that three -- at most three and the margin of error of women that are still -- But if you look at these individual races, north Carolina, Wisconsin, Georgia, New Hampshire, Michigan, we are seeing gender gaps. Women are going to decide these races, they're going to decide it on issues of economic stability and they're looking for democrat -- Why do you ever only talk about abortion on demand and contraception if you think women are more than a homogeneous herd of single issue voters. It's part of an economic future and we talk about equal pay and you bet we talk about access to health care. What we have seen, bill kristol, I want to bring this to you, Arkansas, Louisiana, Colorado, Iowa, still all pretty close but republicans maintaining an edge now in all of those critical key states right now so is this the republicans' race to lose at this point and what worries you about how they could lose it? I think republicans are going to win the senate. I think they'll win it pretty comfortably. They'll do it mostly by doing no harm at this point. President Obama's dragging the democrats down. I do think democrats are making a mistake. The upscale consultants in Washington have said war on women working 2012. It will work again this year. But the thing -- as one intelligence republican consultant said to me the other night, thank god they're running war on women ads, not war on working class ads. If they ran a more populist message they would do better than this upscale single 27-year-old women are going to be deprived of contraception by republicans which is just silly and implausible. Look at the republicans -- 60% of their budgets. Look at the republicans who are underperforming inside incidentally, Georgia where republicans are at some risk nominated a wealthy businessman. What are the attacks on him that are working? They're not war on women attacks. Outsourcing, the Romney type attacks working. I'm happy the death penalties are going down this war on women road and not focusing on the populist issue. That's a good point and I think that would play better and one reason it might not be the top of the agenda democrats respectfully know they haven't even done everything they could have done on this issue. You know, the slogan it could have been worse is not a winning slogan. And I think the economy is certainly better now than we expected it would have been a couple of years ago. I think the president gets some credit for helping put forth policies that have turned this economy around slowly. Having said that there's been no real fight even by democrats for increasing the minimum wage to a living wage. That only goes so far if you do not have the record to back it up. Front paying story as you know in "The New York times" today that talks about -- The black vote. Exactly. That the black vote is what the democratic party is relying upon now to save the senate. News flash, if you're relying on the black vote in a midterm election, and I'm not suggesting the black vote don't care about this but if you're relying on that vote, then I think it's uninspired because we have double and triple digit unemployment in the african-american community and again if the message is something other than employment, and what we're going to do for you, then bass's the reason to go vote? Tavis, it's not the message in North Carolina, in Georgia, in Kentucky, Louisiana, we've got candidates -- we keep saying the war on women is only about contraception. The war on women is a construct about equal pay, minimum wage and access to health care and jobs and what we're seeing in Georgia, by the way, where you've got David Purdue, who has a terrible business record, Michele Nunn who is a commonsense leader who will work across party lines, we see a race that's incredibly close, the momentum is on Michele's side. The african-american community is excited. And Emily's list is so excited we're going to double down and -- Denver, Colorado, "The Denver post" no conservative publication called the incumbent mark uterus for being such a single issue abortion on demand, sex selection abortions, so -- and going to your point when you have this identity politics, you're also losing hispanics on the same grounds, being treated so passively and the presumption like there's a presumption about what women prioritize, the presumption is that hispanics prioritize immigration. They don't. It's economics. But if you're black or brown, if you're -- let's be frank about this. If you're black or brown other than helping to save the democrats' hide, give me three good reasons that you turn out to vote this time. I'll catch hell for saying that. I love watching bill kristol nod his head when Tavis -- The rest of the time to Tavis. I am not suggesting -- I'm not suggesting that people ought to stay at home and sit on their hands but what I'm suggesting is that neither party has focused clearly enough on the issues of black and brown voters to inspire them and motivate them to turn out in 2014 and we may see the same thing in 2016. One underreported aspect, the republicans have high quality interesting young candidates. Tom cotton in Arkansas. Ed Gillespie. Ed Gillespie. Virginia. Has not made big mistakes. But are younger than their rivals. Next generation, military veterans doesn't look like the republican party of 2012. I do want to look quickly to 2016. Tavis, you mentioned we have a brand-new ABC poll. No surprise in the democratic side. Hillary Clinton getting 64% of the vote right now to Joe Biden's 13. Elizabeth Warren hanging in there at 11 and Jim Webb down at 2%. Maybe a bigger surprise on the republican side. Look who is leading. There he is, Mitt Romney, almost double, more than double of the vote totals of Jeb bush right now. Mike Huckabee hanging in there, Rand Paul, Chris Christie as well, you know, Mary, I know there's been this tiny, tiny slight opening of the door by Mitt Romney closed by his wife Ann Romney again this week. Almost certainly not going to run but really hanging in there in among the republican faithful. He's been doing yeoman's work. He was just in Louisiana. He's been campaigning everywhere. He keeps holding confabs. I don't think he's going to run. I certainly don't think both he and bush would run. This is an I.D. Poll as you well know, but the organization, there's an infrastructure of money, people and operatives and such and they want to get ahead -- they want -- we're champing at the bit to start running against Hillary. We only have 15 seconds left. I was surprised that Ted Cruz didn't score better in that poll. He's only at about 4% even though he's firing up people all over the country. This is a snapshot. Four leaders in the poll, excuse me, are two who ran before and two whose parents or fathers have run before. I think you have to discount it and say it's a wide-open race. Nobody is above single digits. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Scott walker, any of these guys. Anybody's race. Thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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