Santorum's favorability among GOP women rises

Rick Santorum has sharply improved his reputation in the eyes of Republican women in recent weeks despite his seemingly controversial views on issues such as birth control, women in combat, and prenatal testing.

Rick Santorum has sharply improved his reputation in the eyes of Republican women in recent weeks despite his seemingly controversial views on issues such as birth control, women in combat, and prenatal testing.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found Santorum's popularity with GOP-inclined women has jumped 13 points since January. He is now only a few points behind Mitt Romney. The poll found 57% of Republican women now possess a favorable view of Santorum compared to 61% for Romney. Newt Gingrich possess only 37% favorability among Republican women.

This improvement comes despite a round of bad press after Foster Friess, a major donor to the Santorum campaign, made remarks that suggested women held Bayer aspirin between their knees as a form of contraception 50 years ago.

One female Santorum supporter credited the surge to the former senator's ability to connect with the non-rich.

“I just don't think Romney knows what life out here in the middle class is like at all — or cares,” said Dorothy Theis, 78, a retiree from Corcoran, Minn., who caucused for Santorum this month. Santorum's social views don't hurt because they are believable, she added.

Santorum also garners a higher favorability among independent women voters in comparison to Romney and Gingrich, according to the polls.

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