CNN polling showed that men have held the same negative view of Obama's job approval for more than a year: he registered the same in August of 2010 and August 2011 -- 41 percent. Women have shifted however, from a 54 percent approval versus 44 disapproval to 47 - 51, which is within the poll's margin of error (4.5 percent). The same trend occurred in Quinnipiac national polls during that time: only 39 percent of men approved of the President's performance in August 2010 and 2011, with an increase in disapproval from the low to the high fifties. Women have gone from 48 - 43 in 2010 to 44 - 49 now. So the lesson here is that men have really been maintaining the same level of support (or non-support), but women have provided the lift over the last year that kept the President's approval from dipping below the mid-forties, until last month.
If this is a low point for the President, it hardly means that women voters are leaving him in droves. They may be a bit disappointed at the moment, but there's plenty of evidence the whole electorate feels that way right now, and about Washington in general. In an email to TPM, Carroll Doherty, Assistant Director of the Pew Research Center for People & the Press, said that in their data women still favor the re-election of the President by wide margins.
In their data from the summer, Pew found a growing gender gap in two areas: general approval and in match-ups of Obama versus a generic Republican. Presidential job approval among men went from 52 percent in May to 39 percent in August, but only moved slightly among women -- it moved from 51 percent in May to 48 percent in August. The starkest turnaround however is in the Pew re-election numbers from over the summer:
Men: 46% Obama / 37% Generic Republican
Women: 49% Obama / 38% Generic Republican
Men: 37% Obama / 43% Generic Republican
Women: 45% Obama / 37% Generic Republican
Men: 36% Obama / 47% Generic Republican
Women: 50% Obama / 34% Generic Republican
Yes, there has been a drop in approval among women voters, and maintaining a high level of support will be essential to the President's campaign. But the real key may be in exactly how much support Obama can will back among male voters, given his current position.
Get the day's best political analysis, news and reporting from the TPM team delivered to your inbox every day with DayBreaker. Sign up here, it takes just a few seconds.