Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Less than two weeks before election day, the final AP-GfK poll finds the likely electorate split between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, 47 percent back Romney, 45 percent Obama. That represents no significant change from the previous AP-GfK poll.

The Associated Press

What's a waitress mom to do?

No group of American voters seems to have more difficulty deciding how to vote in this election than white working-class women. And these so-called "waitress moms" could hold the fate of President Barack Obama or his Republican rival in their hands.

Almost every other demographic group leans heavily toward one candidate or the other. White men are largely lost to Mr. Obama. Blacks and Hispanics have overwhelmingly written off Mitt Romney.

Story continues below advertisement

Married women in the suburbs are lining up behind the Republican. Single women are embracing the President in huge numbers.

But a subset of the fairer sex – white women without college degrees – is going back and forth between the candidates. And how they ultimately mark their ballot could determine who wins on Nov. 6.

Waitress moms abandoned Mr. Romney in big numbers in the wake of his "47 per cent" remark. Many of these women may not make enough to pay income taxes, but they resented Mr. Romney's suggestion that they are "dependent on government."

Yet, these waitress moms had a lot to do with Mr. Romney's rise in the polls after the first presidential debate on Oct. 3. The precariousness of their economic situation – millions of working-class women have been unable to find full-time employment in the past four years – led them to take a second look at the Republican nominee.

An Associated Press-GfK poll released Thursday suggests that Mr. Romney is holding on to their support. The poll shows the two candidates tied at 47 per cent support among women, giving Mr. Romney and overall 47 per cent to 45 per cent lead among likely voters.

Most polls still show a large gender gap, however, with Mr. Obama leading among women by as much as 10 percentage points and Mr. Romney ahead among men by about the same amount.

What's more, the AP poll was taken between last Friday and Tuesday, before the latest flap over women's reproductive rights. In a debate on Tuesday, Indiana Republican senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who opposes abortion in all circumstances, said that even a pregnancy that arises out of rape is "is something that God intended to happen." He apologized for the comment on Wednesday.

Story continues below advertisement

The Romney campaign said the GOP nominee "disagrees with Richard Mourdock, and Mr. Mourdock's comments do not reflect Gov. Romney's views. We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but still support him."

In many ways, the repeated outbursts of Republicans on abortion only reinforce the decisions of most voters to support one presidential candidate or the other. But for some women in the middle, they have created a serious dilemma. What are they to do if they think Mr. Romney would do a better job on the economy, but fear a Republican administration would roll back abortion rights?

Mr. Romney has tried to allay their fears, saying his agenda included no abortion legislation. Yet, he has promised to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides abortion services to low-income women, and reinstate a Bush-era policy that prevents U.S. aid from going to organizations that provide abortions abroad.

Appearing on The Tonight Show on Wednesday, Mr. Obama warned that "Roe vs. Wade is probably hanging in the balance" in this election, referring to the 1973 Supreme Court decision upholding abortion rights.

"This is exactly why you don't want a bunch of politicians, mostly males, making women's health-care decisions," Mr. Obama added, referring to Mr. Mourdock's comment.

The next president is likely to appoint at least one new judge to the Supreme Court, as most court watchers expect liberal lioness Ruth Bader Ginsburg to step down soon (although she has given no indication of that.) In theory, one more conservative judge on the court is all that would be needed to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Story continues below advertisement

But it is far from certain that Mr. Romney would appoint a strident anti-abortion judge or that one would be confirmed by the Senate. What's more, Chief Justice John Roberts, who voted to uphold Mr. Obama's health-care law, has shown he is sensitive to the court's standing in the court of public opinion.

Only 20 per cent of Americans support a ban on abortions, according to Gallup. The firm also found this month that only 17 per cent of voters will only vote for a candidate who shares their views on abortion, and that includes 9 per cent who oppose abortion.

That does not mean, of course, that the latest dust-up over abortion will not figure into the decisions of some voters. And for some of those coveted waitress moms, it could be the last straw.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies