BOSTON, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Aides to Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said polls indicate he is winning a larger share of support among women than men.
The aides say the small, persistent gender gap apparently emerged because women say they appreciate Romney's values, family story, business background and aren't caught up in the ideological evaluation that seem to cause him trouble with male voters, The Boston Globe reported Monday.
"We've seen that difference for a while," Romney pollster Neil Newhouse said last week after a presentation on "Walmart Moms," a segment he considers key in the upcoming election. "It may be that, to women, experience makes more of a difference. Experience, leadership -- it's the intangibles."
Romney's strength with female voters -- polls indicate they support him by about 5 percentage points more than men -- was not something he saw in his 2002 gubernatorial campaign nor his 2008 presidential bid.
Now, though, Romney's campaign has softened his image, the Globe said. He hardly wears a suit and tie, focuses on economic issues, speaks often about his family, and his wife, Ann, has had a greater presence on the campaign trail.
During one campaign stop, Ann Romney became emotional as she told women how supportive her husband has been as she battles multiple sclerosis.
"He said: 'I'm fine with you if you're in the wheelchair. That doesn't matter to me. I love you for who you are. I don't care whether you can't get dinner on the table anymore. I don't care. I can eat toast and cereal for the rest of my life. But together we can still do anything.'"
A recent Fox News poll indicted Romney had the support of 23 percent of Republican women nationally compared with 17 percent for Georgia businessman Herman Cain, 11 percent for Texas Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, and 10 percent for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.