Can Mitt Romney win women voters?
The Romney campaign plans to ramp up their attacks on President Obama at the GOP convention in Tampa, Florida, and beyond. But is that the best way to get voters, especially women, to like Mitt Romney?
Romney has had some poll numbers haunting him since his bid for the White House began. If he can't turn them around, even voter ID laws aimed at stopping Democrats from voting and the Koch brother's generous campaign donations may not be enough to get him to the White House.
Romney has poor likability numbers. And he trails Obama badly among women voters, 50-42, in a recent Gallup poll.
Women make up about half of the electorate and a Romney victory is unlikely unless he can woo women voters.
However, despite what the Republican propaganda machine is trying to sell, women are not buying it. This may be a classic case of actions speaking louder than words, since women's rights and health care issues have been under assault by the GOP since Republicans took over the House in 2010.
The latest blemish on the GOP image came last week, when Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin announced that women who had a "legitimate rape" could defy medical science and produce a special sperm-killing bodily function that prevented pregnancy. The suggestion was quickly debunked by the New York Times and the legitimate medical community as complete fantasy. But the GOP continues to try to find ways to redefine rape in order to justify outlawing abortion.
Still, the Akin "legitimate rape" controversy has highlighted some core concerns among mainstream Americans with Tea Party philosophy.
Unsupported claims are making the GOP look more and more like a party desperate enough to do whatever it takes to grab power, including defy science, mislead voters, and even outright lie in campaign ads.
Former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, co-host of the MSNBC show Morning Joe, slammed Romney last week for running a "completely false" ad against President Obama on welfare reform.
"I've been looking for a week-and-a-half to try to figure out the basis of this welfare reform ad," Scarborough said on air. "I've scoured the Wall Street Journal editorial pages … the ad's completely false. It's just completely false."
In addition to a sharp turn to the right to shore-up support among radical right-wing Republicans, lying in political ads is not helping Romney's image. Add to that his unprecedented defense of keeping his tax returns secret and you have a candidate struggling to get his favorable poll numbers up.
The Romney campaign seems to think that if they just lie more, that will be enough to win the White House. It might work, since a lot of voters believe everything they see in negative ads whether they are proven false or not. However, some issues could be impenetrible.
The wild card remains female voters, who may fall for Romney false advertising on other issues, but may never trust a Republican to stop the current movement to allow government control over the outcome of pregnancies by forcing raped women to have children.
Women won the right to choose abortion from the Supreme Court in the Roe v Wade decision of 1973. Republicans are now trying to take that right away by blocking abortion rights on state-by-state basis.
Romney's unfavorable polling problems also seem to revolve around a general view that he is out of touch with average voters. This is the candidate that is installing a car elevator in one of his many homes, has a Swiss bank account, and told a group of college students to go "ask their parents for money" if Republicans followed through on their plans to end government support for education programs.
During his years as CEO of Bain Capital, Romney made decisions that shipped American jobs overseas, and closed the doors on businesses, stripping workers of jobs and health insurance. Romney calls that a "sucessful" business career. But those who were on the receiving end of Romney's venture capital profit-driven schemes have different views.
In a time when too many Americans are struggling, Romney has done little to dispel his image as an out of touch millionaire, who is essentially a candidate that will increase taxes on most Americans, while cutting them for the rich.
Apart from his 56% unfavorable rating among the general electorate, even the Romney team knows that winning the White House is not likely to happen without support from female voters.
If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.