WASHINGTON -- To see the most important impact of the Democrats' attacks on Mitt Romney's career at Bain Capital, look no further than how the presumptive Republican nominee for president is doing with women voters in swing states, particularly Ohio.

Romney trails President Barack Obama among women voters in Ohio, with 40 percent to Obama's 52 percent, and is even further behind when it comes to personal favorability, according to a poll released Monday night by Purple Strategies, a D.C. based influence and communications shop.

Ohio women surveyed have an overwhelmingly negative view of Romney: 56 percent view him unfavorably and 32 percent view him favorably. Their feelings about Obama are mixed, but he has a slight positive advantage, with 48 percent favorability ranking among women voters to 47 percent unfavorable.

Compare those numbers to male voters in Ohio: 51 percent of men in the Purple Poll prefer Romney for president, compared to 43 percent who are for Obama. Romney has a 43 favorable and 42 percent unfavorable rating with Ohio men, while Obama has a 43 percent favorable and 52 percent unfavorable rating.

Overall, Obama leads Romney in the topline state number 48 percent to 45 percent. And it's clear that Obama's edge comes largely from those female voters.

"A gender gap exists, showing up most strongly in Ohio," according to Purple's polling summary.

In addition to Ohio, Purple released a set of monthly numbers for three other key swing states: Virginia, Florida and Colorado.

The average across all four states, when broken down by gender, looks similar to Ohio. Romney has a 47/45 percent favorable/unfavorable advantage with men, while 55 percent of men view Obama favorably and only 41 percent view him favorably. But 50 percent of women view Obama favorably and 45 percent view him unfavorably, while 52 percent are unfavorable toward Romney and only 37 percent are favorable.

The Obama campaign's ads emphasizing Bain Capital's plant closings and outsourcing have a much bigger impact among women than men, Democrats say. Obama has also gone out of his way to emphasize his support for issues that are specific to women.

While Ohio voters in general are not very pleased with Obama –- he has a 46 percent approval rating and a 49 percent disapproval rating in the state -– if Democrats can drive up Romney's negatives so high that he is an unsuitable alternative to Obama, then that could be the difference between victory and defeat in a state that could decide the election.

And women voters represent the Obama campaign's best chance to do that.

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  • 99 Problems (JAY-Z)

    Eric Fehrnstrom, senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/06/03/494238/fehrnstrom-shiny-objects-women/" target="_hplink">said on Sunday</a> that issues pertaining to women's reproductive rights, such as abortion and birth control, were "shiny objects" meant to distract voters from the real issues. "Mitt Romney is pro-life," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "He'll govern as a pro-life president, but you're going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people's attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election."

  • Talk (Coldplay)

    The Senate will vote Thursday on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would expand and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and make it illegal for employers to punish women for bringing up pay disparity issues. Dana Perino, a Fox News contributor and former press secretary for President George W. Bush, <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/30/perino-equal-pay-issue-is-a-distraction-for-just-48-hours/" target="_hplink">called the equal pay issue</a> "a distraction" from the country's real financial problems last week. "Well, it's just yet another distraction of dealing with the major financial issues that the country should be dealing with," Perino said. "This is not a job creator."

  • Just My Imagination (The Temptations)

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose home state's legislature recently defunded Planned Parenthood and voted to pass a bill that would allow employers to deny women birth control coverage, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/john-mccain-war-on-women_n_1455591.html" target="_hplink">delivered a floor speech</a> in which he insisted that the war on women is something imaginary for Democrats to "sputter about." "My friends, this supposed 'War on Women' or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are purely political in their purpose and effect: The first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television," he said.

  • Butterfly Fly Away (Miley & Billy Ray Cyrus)

    Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tried to trivialize concerns about the legislative "war on women" by comparing it to a "war on caterpillars." "If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we'd have problems with caterpillars," Priebus <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-05/priebus-says-gender-battle-as-fictonal-as-caterpillar-war.html" target="_hplink">said in an April interview</a> on Bloomberg Television. "It's a fiction."

  • Distraction (Angels And Airwaves)

    Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman (R) took heat from her opponents in May when she contended that Democratic lawmakers' focus on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was "a distraction" from the issues they should be dealing with instead. "I think it's unfortunate that the Democrats have made a political football out of this thing, which I think is what they keep doing to distract from real problems that are facing our nation," she said in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio.

  • We Don't Care (Kanye West)

    South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) defended the Republican Party in April for going after insurance coverage for contraception by arguing that women don't actually care about contraception. "Women don't care about contraception," she said on ABC's The View. "They care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all those other things."