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Mitt Romney's problem with women voters: views from a battleground state

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A Quinnipiac University survey released in late March shows Obama defeating all the Republican candidates in Virginia; he has an eight-point advantage over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumed front-runner. Among women, Obama edges Mr. Romney, 52 percent to 39 percent.

Women like Struckman, who are focused on education and issues like improving the nation's infrastructure, have perhaps been alienated by heated social debates dominating dialogue during the Republican primary contest. Some of the candidates have staked out controversial positions about access to contraception. Meanwhile, local discussion has grown rancorous over a Virginia bill – pushed by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell – that would have mandated that women seeking an abortion must first have a transvaginal sonogram.

Democrats in the 10th District, which is represented in Congress by Rep. Frank Wolf (R), are positively gleeful at their prospects in the national contest. Mary Christofferson, a mother of three who is Roman Catholic and supporting Obama, said she thinks the abortion and contraception conversations that sidetracked political debate could alienate women across the political spectrum. She said the issues could resonate negatively with "moms and young women, and I would even venture to guess with Republican women."

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