Did Obama Throw Away His Gender Gap As Well?

The latest stomach-churning news from the president's October 3 self-immolation is that, according to a new Gallup poll, he is now losing female votes in the key swing states of Florida, Virginia, and Colorado in a big way. Here's why:

"In general, women tend to be later decision-makers than men and the Obama campaign has gone out of their way to run a negative campaign against Governor Romney among women," Newhouse says. "The first debate had a significant impact on these voters as they watched it and Governor Romney appeared nothing like the candidate that was essentially a caricature in the advertising by the Obama campaign. It's these voters who began to realize that the picture being painted of him was not reality."

This is not the first poll to show a huge shift among women from Obama to Romney following the October 3 debacle:

The USA TODAY findings are consistent with a nationwide Pew Research Center Poll taken after the first presidential debate and released last week. Obama's 18-point lead among women in mid-September evaporated in Pew's October survey, showing him tied 47%-47% with Romney among female likely voters.

Alan Abramowitz thinks these Gallup numbers are way off, and takes all the other data from the swing states from all the polls to draw a different conclusion:

When the individual state results were weighted based on state population to make them directly comparable to the Gallup results, Obama had an average lead of just over 2 points. Using the population-weighted RealClearPolitics.com averages, Obama's lead in these 12 states was just over 1 point.

Both the HuffPost Pollster poll tracking model and the RealClearPolitics.com averages are based on the results of dozens of polls involving tens of thousands of interviews with likely voters in the individual swing states while the Gallup swing state poll is based on interviews with a few hundred likely voters spread across all 12 states. It is clear which of these results one ought to have more confidence in.

I tend to believe in the largest samples possible as more reliable. And yet I feel this race slipping away from Obama rather quickly. On Abramowitz's model, Obama's current Electoral College standing is 271. The ground he has lost in October is vast. And I think that once you sink that far that fast, you have a huge job to switch it back. Everything hinges on tonight.