Depending which poll you look at, Barack Obama is doing much better among female voters -- or he still has a big challenge ahead.
Gallup's daily tracking poll suggests that Obama has widened his lead over John McCain since Hillary Clinton, who bested Obama in the primaries among women, dropped out of the Democratic race and endorsed him.
In tracking polls from May 27 through June 2, Obama led McCain 48 percent to 43 percent among women. But in tracking polls from June 5 through June 9, he led the presumptive Republican nominee 51 percent to 38 percent among women.
And among women 50 and older, Obama had turned a 46 percent to 43 percent deficit into a 47 percent to 41 percent lead.
But in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released this afternoon, while Clinton led McCain by 14 percentage points among suburban women, Obama trailed by 6 percentage points. Overall, Obama leads 47 percent to 41 percent.
To win in November, a Democratic presidential candidate typically needs to build a sizable gender gap, drawing far higher support among women than the Republican.
In a conference call today with reporters organized by EMILY's List, a political action committee that backs female candidates who support abortion rights, its president, Ellen R. Malcolm, and others acknowledged they were disappointed by Clinton's loss and that Obama has some fence-mending to do.
But they said the priority now should be to elect Obama, in part because McCain opposes abortion rights.
"There is definitely a period of mourning that ardent Hillary Clinton supporters are going through," Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida said during the conference call. "I think there is a fairly large group of women that are going to need to be won over. And that's going to take some time."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.