Washington Daybook: Minding the Gender Gap

Photograph by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Ann Romney and First lady Michelle Obama prior to the Presidential Debate at the University of Denver on October 3, 2012.

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are at risk of being upstaged by their popular spouses in the race for the White House.

Ann Romney will make four campaign stops today, compared with just three for her husband, while Barack and Michelle Obama each attend three rallies.

President Obama is returning to the campaign trail after visiting New Jersey to examine the damage from Hurricane Sandy. He’ll speak at events in Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado today while Vice President Joe Biden drops in on Iowa and former President Bill Clinton campaigns for both men in Ohio.

Mitt Romney makes three appearances in Virginia today, while his wife Ann blankets Ohio, seeking to further erode the gender gap in polls. Not to be outdone, Michelle Obama concentrates her campaign appearances in Florida today.

The spousal deployment comes as polls show the gender gap is narrowing between the candidates. Women now favor Obama 50 percent to 48 percent, compared with 56 percent to 41 percent last week, according to an ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll released Oct. 30. The gap among men has narrowed as well, to 51 percent versus 46 percent in favor of Romney from 57 percent versus 40 percent a week earlier, according to the survey.

Among men and women, Obama holds narrow leads over Romney in battleground states of Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Iowa as the campaigns enter their final days, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll released yesterday. Obama holds 49 percent to 46 percent lead in Wisconsin among likely voters, half what it was two weeks ago, and holds a 49 percent to 47 percent lead in New Hampshire.

Today in Washington, AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka outlines the “closing arguments” for the labor movement in the campaign and unveils a final get-out-the-vote plan on a conference call. The U.S. Travel Association releases its forecast for consumer, business and international travel for 2013, and the National Museum of the American Indian holds a symposium on the Washington Redskins NFL team’s name and logo.

Beyond the Beltway, Rezwan Ferdaus, who pleaded guilty to plotting to bomb the U.S. Capitol and Pentagon, faces sentence of 17 years in prison if a judge in Boston accepts his plea agreement today.

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