Over his first month as the presumptive GOP nominee for President, Mitt Romney has tried his darndest to reach out to groups that don't like him much. Yesterday, he went to Philadelphia to pretend he has black friends (although hopefully this time, he refrained from saying "Who let the dogs out?!" during photo ops). His wife Ann has vouched for him as well, tousling his hair on the news and assuring women of America that because she likes her husband, all other ladies should like him, too. Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has endorsed him as well, saying that he's "better for women" than Barack Obama. But after weeks of the Romney campaign's window dressing, the Republican is still left with one uncomfortable and seemingly insurmountable fact: women dislike the hell out of Mitt Romney. And single women like him so little that it's almost comical.
According to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Romney still trails Obama among women by 15 points — a 4 point improvement since the Washington Post recorded a 19 point deficit recorded in April — but among single women, the prognosis is much worse. Married ladies are coming around to Mittens — they prefer him over Obama by 9 points — single ladies prefer Obama over Romney by 36 points. Since there are 55 million single women in the country, this could be a problem come November.
But, according to Mother Jones' Stephanie Mencimer, Romney's awkwardness with the ladies isn't new. In fact, at no point in his political career have women ever really liked him; he's never won the female vote in any election. When he ran for Senate in Massachusetts in 1994, he lost to Ted Kennedy among women by 24 percentage points. When he ran for Massachusetts Governor in 2002, he lost among women by 4 points, but won by 13 points among men, which offset his lady problem enough to give him the win.
Romney's robotic, patronizing, impatient Duck Phillips mannerisms are especially off putting to single women, but they're not surprising. Mitt Romney has spent most of his life entrenched in institutions that aren't terribly lady friendly — he's never had to learn to interact with women who aren't his mom or his wife (who is also kind of his mom). Sure, he grew up with two older sisters, but they were so much older than little Willard Mitt that they were practically adults by the time Romney had the manual dexterity to aggressively wield scissors. The Mormon church doesn't exactly encourage vibrant interaction between the genders, either, and there's no place in official church leadership for ladies. And, writes Mencimer,
At a time when lots of young men were still sowing wild oats, Mitt and Ann were having kids, the first within a year of marriage, while they were both in college at Utah's Brigham Young University. (The Romneys eventually had five boys, ensuring that Mitt would be spared any confrontations with that alien species-teenage girls-as he got older in his male-dominated household. Even Seamus, the Romneys' now-famous Irish Setter, was a guy.)
Only 10% of Vice Presidents at Bain Capital, Romney's corporate home, were women. And politics is still a bro down. Is it any wonder that Mitt can't handle talking to women?
In 2008, 70% of unmarried women voted for the now-President, and Obama's got a jump on courting unmarried female voters again. Unless Mitt suddenly becomes besties with Oprah, gets Ryan Gosling to stump for him, and adopts some social positions that aren't repugnant to unmarried women, his pre-2012 life as King Dude of the Penile Colony may back to bite him in the ass.