As a new AP-GfK poll has Mitt Romney closing the gap among women voters, the New York Times takes a look at a key swing demographic: so-called "waitress moms." The term refers to blue-collar white women without college educations. Unlike "soccer moms" of the 1990s, they're struggling with the current economy. They lean Republican, but they're not aligned with either party. "Blue-collar women are most likely to be the remaining movable part of the electorate, which is precisely why both campaigns are going at them as hard as they are," says a Democratic pollster.
Waitress moms made up some 9% of the electorate in 2008. In targeting these voters, campaigns are focused on the economy. President Obama, for instance, is calling abortion and birth control "a pocketbook issue for women and families," while a Romney ad shows a mom telling her daughter, "Welcome to America. Your share of Obama's debt is over $50,000." As the campaign grinds on, Romney has closed a 16-point deficit against Obama among women, the new poll finds. Obama, meanwhile, has cut Romney's advantage with male voters from 13 points to five. The poll puts Romney up overall, winning 47% to 45%—but things are still looking better for Obama in the swing states.