Some female poll respondents explained they may sit out the Nov. 2 vote because the Democrats haven't lived up to the promise of change that fueled the party's victories in the 2008 campaign.

"The same old people are just getting re-elected and we're not changing in any way," says Amy Nay, a 25-year-old homemaker from Victorville, Calif., a Democrat who voted for Obama and may not turn out to vote for a candidate from that party next month. "We need more skirts in the White House and in our Congress."

Government Spending

Women are less receptive to Republicans' priorities, including their campaign pledge to cut or freeze government spending, with 45% calling it a good idea compared with 52% of men.

Fifty-five percent of women say they oppose any plan to privatize Social Security as a way to cut the deficit. That compares with 45% of men. Women voters also are less likely to support the Republicans' goal of extending all the tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush that expire at the end of the year, with just 28% of women saying they should be extended to all income levels, compared with 40% of men.

Obama and most Democrats have proposed renewing all the cuts, except those that exclusively affect the highest earners.

Health care is a particularly divisive issue across gender lines in the poll, with women voters more supportive of the Obama-backed overhaul passed by Congress this year.

Among likely voters, 44% of women say the health- care law will strengthen the economy and 35% say it will weaken the economy. That compares with 37% of men who say it will improve the economy and 48% who say it will make it worse.

The poll of 721 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7%age points.

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