It was supposed to be a slam-dunk. Under Obamacare, the Health and Human Services Department mandated insurance coverage of contraceptive and abortifacient drugs without allowing conscience exemptions for non-worship religious ministries or faithful secular employers. To dismiss ecclesiastical objections to the measure, Planned Parenthood and the liberal media created a narrative that 98 percent of Catholic women use artificial birth control. Despite the absurdity of the claim, team Obama repeated it again and again; furthermore, they ascribed spurious policy goals, such as outlawing contraceptives altogether, to the Catholic Church and the Republican party. Rationalizing that young ladies would surely appreciate a defender against such neanderthals, the Democrats tethered their electoral hopes to this contrived War on Women.

Now, finding their synthetic progesterone powered incumbent with a 46-50 favorable-unfavorable rating among women (down from 57-39 in April) and only a 5 point lead over the Republican candidate among likely voters of the fairer sex (the margin was 13 points in the 2008 vote), the Democrats must be asking themselves what went wrong.

A preliminary report of What Catholic Women Think About Faith Conscience, and Contraception: A Nationwide Survey of Catholic Women (18-54)* recently released by the Women, Faith, and Culture Project provides some insight. Finding that only 37% of Catholic women “completely reject the Church’s teaching on family planning,” the study contradicts the meme that widespread use of birth control indicates widespread dissent in the pews.

More remarkable is the bad news the study portends for President Obama and his Planned Parenthood coterie. The average ideal number of children per family identified by women in the survey was 3.5 and jumped to 4.0 when the phrase “if money were not a factor” was added to the question. “Ability to financially support a child,” was the number one factor for considering when to conceive, cited by 64% of the women sampled overall, including a whopping 76% of young infrequent church-goers.

Consistent with the study’s findings, The Atlantic reports that an Obama baby bust is indeed underway with fewer births every year since 2008, and 1 in 5 millennials putting their dreams of parenthood on hold because of the flailing economy. Based on 2010 census data, that translates into 7 million would-be mothers in the 18 to 34-year-old age group whose loving arms are as empty as Solyndra headquarters. So it appears that while the Democrats celebrate copay free birth control as the vehicle for feminist self-actualization, millions of women see improving the economy as the key to reproductive freedom. They are not concerned about Republican bogeymen keeping them from going on birth control. They’re worried that President Obama’s abysmal job market will prevent them from ever going off.

With a narrow polling advantage, President Obama and his media enablers are brazenly trying to run out the clock until election day with distractions such as the phony War on Women. Meanwhile, young women voters are feeling genuinely “left out” and “stuck in the Obama economy” as they hear the very loud ticking of the most opportune biological time to have a baby passing them by.

* The survey, conducted in mid-2011, months before the HHS mandate controversy erupted, was intended to serve as a tool to help Catholic ministers focus sexual morality education resources. This sample included English-speaking Catholic women who self-reported attending Catholic Mass at least “a few times a year.” The 824-woman sample included the following quota groups: 24% frequent church-goers, ages 18-34; 26% infrequent church-goes, ages 18-34; 25% frequent church-goers, ages 35-54; and 25% infrequent church-goes, ages 35-54.