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President Obama doing well among women, approval rating-wise

A new poll has found the president, here with Mrs. Obama in Washington in February, is popular among women voters.

President Barack Obama has the ladies on lock, according to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll.

The poll, conducted Feb. 16-20, found that female voters are more likely than men to credit the president for the economy’s slow but steady turnaround. Obama’s approval rating among women jumped to 53 percent, up ten percent from just a few months ago, the poll found.

High-profile political back-and-forth over such social issues as requiring insurance companies to cover contraception for employees of religious institutions may also be helping steer female voters Obama’s way, the poll found.

“Social issues tend to be very important to the bases — both conservative and liberal voters,” said Nathan Gonzales, deputy editor of The Rothenberg Political Report, a non-partisan publication based in Washington D.C. “It can be a rallying point and boost for voters on the far right and far left. Social issues also help generate money for campaigns.”

Women make up just over half of the electorate and this critical voting block helped Obama clinch a win over GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain in the 2008 elections.

Obama also “comes the closest to gender parity in terms of campaign cash,” according to an analysis of individual donations of $200 or more by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks the influence of money in politics.

The study found that 44 percent of the president’s campaign cash came from female donors, while 56 percent came from men.

Obama might be gaining ground with female voters, but Republican presidential hopefuls Rep. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich get male donors to open their wallets, the Center for Responsive Politics’ study found.

Paul racked in 83 percent of his campaign cash from men. Gingrich also fared well with guys, pulling in about 77 percent of donations from male donors, according to the report.

Republican frontrunners Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum didn’t fare too shabbily either with the guys. According to the report, Santorum pulled in a respectable 68 percent of such donations from men and Romney did even better, at 70 percent.

As for the GOPers’ ability to get the ladies to open their pocketbooks? Well, that’s a different matter.

Gingrich, Romney and Santorum get nearly a third of their cash from female donors, according to the report.

And apparent guy’s guy Ron Paul?

He pulls in a paltry 17 percent from the ladies.

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Today.com political contributor Halimah Abdullah is the site’s woman in Washington.