Campaign 2012 as seen by 2 women

A stay-at-home mom with three kids, Penny Zakrzewski plans to vote for Romney. To win Virginia, he needs more women like her.
CBS News

(CBS News) WASHINGTON - With just over five weeks until the election, Mitt Romney is working hard to improve his trailing poll numbers among female voters by focusing on their economic concerns. We profile two women with very different takes on the campaign.

In an ad released earlier this week, the Romney campaign spoke directly to women, pointing to the economy as their key concern.

Penny Zakrzewski agrees. Growing debt is her greatest worry.

"When the market crashed, we ended up having two more kids and staying in a home that is too small for us," she said.

A stay-at-home mom with three kids, she plans to vote for Romney. To win Virginia, he needs more women like her.

A recent CBS News poll shows the gender gap between Romney and the president is widening. While Romney holds a six-point lead among men, President Obama has a 12-point advantage with women.

Polls also show women are more interested than men in issues impacting their pocketbook.

Politics expert Diedre Condit says this election will come down to one demographic: "It's going to be single women voters who are really going to be the decisive pivot point in this election."

Single women like Kimetra Barnes. She supports President Obama. "I kind of want to vote for the person that I feel is fighting for me," she said.

Two years after losing her job as a marketing specialist, Barnes is still looking for work and she doesn't think Romney understands people like her.

"He won't be able to relate to me, or a single parent, or a person that doesn't know where their next dollar is going to come from to pay their bill," she said.

Even Zakrzewski hasn't heard enough about how Romney would fix the economy if elected president.

"That's one reason why I'm looking forward to the debates," said Zakrzewski. "I'm hopeful that Mitt Romney is going to be able to articulate what his plans are. I'd like to hear more specifics from him, definitely.

In addition to the economy, both women say healthcare is also important to them. They'll be listening for details when the candidates debate Wednesday for the first time.

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    Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News investigative correspondent based in Washington.