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Women, especially younger ones, could swing the mid-terms

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What do women think of Donald Trump? The most recent Gallup polling suggests 35% of women approve of the president’s performance, compared with 49% of men. That 14-point difference is one of the largest since his term began. This discontent may have a big effect on the mid-term elections in November, particularly if it motivates young women to vote.  

Democrats have long held an edge over Republicans amongst women voters. Mr Trump won the presidency with 52 percent of men’s votes and 41 percent of women’s votes. In 2012 Barack Obama won 55 percent of women’s votes compared with 45 percent of men’s votes, suggesting a gender gap that differs by only one percentage point. At the end of 2017, according to Pew, 39% of women identified as Democrats compared with 26% of men; that female support is similar to the level in 1998. (28 percent of men and 25 percent of women identify as Republicans, the rest of the population identify as independent). 

Mr Trump’s time in office has seen intensifying animosity towards him from women. CBS polling earlier this year suggested 50% of women think that the president’s policies have mostly hurt women, compared with 7% percent suggesting they have mostly helped. And his gender gap in presidential approval ratings is particularly large—about twice as large as those for Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton. As a measure of the strength of feeling against him, a Quinnipiac poll in late June found that 46% of women would like to see Democrats begin impeachment proceedings against Mr Trump if they win control of the House of Representatives this autumn. That compares with 29% of men. The nomination of a second Supreme Court justice who is seen as a probable vote for overturning Roe v Wade, and the ongoing harassment allegations against the president himself have not helped matters. They could sustain the depth of disapproval all the way to elections in November.

Most voters are looking at the mid-terms at least in part as a referendum on Mr Trump’s performance (26% positively; 34% negatively). Surveys suggest women have a slight edge over men in terms of enthusiasm to vote this year—the Quinnipiac poll had 51% of women reporting themselves more motivated to vote than usual, compared with 46% of men. That will favour Democrats even more than it usually does: 56% of women reported being Democrats or leaning Democratic compared with 37% leaning towards or identifying as Republican. The share of women leaning or identifying as Democratic is the highest-equal since 1992 (matching the level in 2008). 

There are other signs of high motivation levels amongst left-leaning women. A series of protests led by women brought out more than 3m people in 2017 and more than a million at the start of 2018. And there has been a surge in women running for office. Democratic women have won a record 105 house primaries in this election cycle. Just 25 Republican women have done the same. Traditionally, women voters have not shown any preference for women candidates. But that is changing, particularly amongst the young. A third of women aged 18-34 report that they would prefer to vote for a woman candidate.  

Anti-Trump feeling is particularly strong amongst that same demographic group. Just 5% of women aged 18-34 had a very favourable opinion of Trump in a March poll compared with 56% with a very unfavourable opinion. Whether that translates into polling-day results depends on how many come out to vote. Turnout amongst younger groups typically lags older ones, who swung behind Mr Trump in 2016 and have not changed their minds. In the 2014 mid-term elections, only 16% of 18-29 year olds voted, compared with 55% of those over the age of 60. Republican candidates will have to hope apathy overcomes antipathy amongst young women on November 6th.

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Julio Marchi ©

Publisher / Editor at BS News & Media Services
A free thinker, not labelled as anything, not associated with any party, not part of any group or engaged with any religion... A simple guy tired of the nowadays bullshit who decided to promote more serious debates about what is really happening hoping to bring back intelligence to the superficial and shallow news & headlines that unfortunately took over the existing media scene.
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