Maddox would seem to have a big hill to climb. Since the 1980, the women's vote in presidential elections has gone to the Democratic candidate every time. Polls for Election 2012 show women favor Mr. Obama over Mr. Romney by at least 7 percentage points.
"Women are more likely to vote for Democratic candidates because they feel that they need a social security net provided by the government, because women are economically more vulnerable,” says Professor Walsh.
Some polls have shown a positive blip for Romney after the Republican convention and the speech by his wife, Ann. But the Romney campaign needs Maddox and other women like her.
She started “Women For Romney” this year, and it has about 1,500 members. She also has a Facebook page, an online talk-radio show, and does volunteer work, encouraging women to take county chairs for the Romney campaign.
“We encourage women to vote for Mitt Romney because what impacts us the most is the economy, government overspending, unemployment, and dismal job creation,” says Maddox, who got engaged in the campaign when she was asked to serve as a women’s coalition chair for Romney in Florida. “We focus on educating women voters, one vote at a time, woman to woman.”
Asked about social issues, she puts them aside, simply calling Obama's health-care law a disaster.
Rae Lynn Chornenky, president of the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), is not so dismissive of social issues, but she agrees that they should not be the focus of efforts to reach out to female voters. An NFRW survey of more than 8,500 Republican women suggests that the economy is first on women’s minds going into the 2012 election, she says.