It's hard to believe (say, about as inconceivable as the concept that some women are raped because it's God's "intention") that Obama could've lost a significant amount of support from women voters after that one lackluster Denver debate. But, according to national polls and some battleground state surveys, that's exactly what happened — and that's why the Obama campaign plans on spending the next two weeks convincing women to come out and vote for him on Election Day.
In case you've been ignoring every single publication and all social media sites over the past month (lucky you!), here's what happened in Denver: Obama didn't mention the word "woman" once. (Of course, neither did Romney, but that probably worked to his advantage, because usually when he says "woman" it's followed by "dinner.")
"Women turned on the TV and saw a Romney that defied the caricature and the impression they had of him," Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster who specializes in the women's vote, told Politico. "And in the matter of a split screen, saw two men they didn't know existed: Romney as accessible, knowledgeable and plausible, and a President Obama who is everything they didn't believe him to be - disengaged and not focused."
(Or maybe they were just on their periods?)
No one really thinks Obama will actually lose the women's vote, but the campaign can no longer feel overconfident about droves of women showing up on November 6th. This week, his team released two creative women-centric ads: a video starring Lena Dunham suggestively referring to her "first time...voting for Barack Obama" that has already prompted frantic pearl-clutching from conservatives, and a website called "Stand Up to Extremism" that lists how long Mitt Romney's endorsement ad for Richard Mourdock has been airing since he made his famous "something that God intended" declaration and counts the amount of times that the Romney endorsement of Mourdock has run — so far, 158 times on broadcast stations alone.
The Lena Dunham ad is clearly part of a plan to convince young women who are already Obama fans to come out and vote, but the website is a key reminder of the alternative to four more years of Obama: four years of politicians telling women what to do with their bodies. Sure, that already happens on the regular, but without a POTUS who'll go on Jay Leno to clarify that "Rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don't make too much sense to me," there will be more of a correlation between similarly batshit statements and legislative action. Shudder.
Obama's campaign wants us to remember that polls are just estimates, and often not very good estimates, at that. "...any poll that shows us tied with women and with men in this country is not a poll that we are placing bets on in Vegas," Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday. Plus, even if you're a poll fanatic (Hi, Mom and Dad!) Obama is still leading among female voters in the most important swing states, like Ohio.
Still, all this is an excellent reminder that even if you're not feeling the same electric push to vote that you did in 2008, your voice matters. Especially if your voice is a lady voice.