After digging through some numbers, I think it'd be pretty smart for Mitt Romney to forget about single women, and instead, target married women with kids.
I write all that, formally, on the Hill homepage here, but want to give you the brief overview right now.
THE KEY POINTS:
1. Polls show that there's a big gap between single women and married women.
Romney is currently winning married women, while losing huge with single women.
2. So... should Romney target married woman (with whom he's already doing well) or single women, where there are theoretically more votes to pick off?
3. History suggests he should focus on married women, and just forget about single women.
In 2004, George W. Bush lost single women by 29%, but ended up winning married women by 15%.
Thus, Bush proved that you could lose by massive margins with single women, but offset that enough among married women to minimize the gender gap and win the presidential election.
4. Right now, Romney is losing single women by about the same margin that Bush lost them... BUT... he's only winning married women by 3-7%.
If he were to jump to Bush's 2004 level with married women, he'd be golden. That's a challenge but not an impossible one, and he certainly doesn't need to move too far to the Left to do it.
Soccer Moms are moderate; in fact, their moderation probably mirrors Romney's pretty well.
5. If you break down the 2008 election, you'll see that the biggest battle in the gender war was "married women with kids", also known as Soccer Moms!
Obama nipped McCain there by just 4%.
That's going to be the "swing demo" Romney will have to flip, and Bush showed it's definitely possible.
THUS... if Romney is going to target Soccer Moms, Kelly Ayotte would make a strong pick.
NOW.... Sarah Palin didn't prove that picking a woman doesn't help with women.
Palin was simply the wrong woman. After all, she called herself a "Hockey Mom", which isn't terribly compatible with the Soccer Moms that will decide this election.
Romney has a real chance with women, but that chance doesn't lie with targeting single women and the dramatic move to the Left that some say he has to make.