History could be made in next week’s election — not only in the possibility of electing the first female president, but in the possibility of the largest gender voting gap in the modern era. Women have voted far more heavily Democratic than men in presidential elections since 1996, and the biggest gap thus far has been in 2000, when women preferred Al Gore over George W. Bush by 10 points, while men chose Bush over Gore by 11 points — a 21-point total gap.
One in five voters in 2012 were college-educated white women. Mitt Romney won them by six points, according to exit polls. Our fresh Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll, which has Hillary Clinton ahead by just two points among all likely voters nationally, finds that Donald Trump is losing college-educated white women by 27 points.
Start with the first female nominee of a major party in the 240-year history of the United States; Democrat Hillary Clinton now leads in a campaign that could smash what she famously dubbed “the highest, hardest glass ceiling.” Then there’s the emergence of white, college-educated women as arguably the most crucial swing group in the electorate, moving away from the GOP in numbers that if not reversed could imperil the party’s future
White evangelicals are reliable Republican voters. They also have a long history of demanding that politicians exemplify character and morality in public life. So for many, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump presents a moral dilemma.
The role of sex and gender in this election extends beyond Donald Trump’s personal history and the media’s excessive scrutiny of Hillary Clinton’s voice. Trump’s ethno-nationalist populism reflects anxieties over the changing role of women and men in society against a backdrop of harrowing economic crisis and demographic change that will soon make the United States a majority-minority country.
If you’ve read anything about this unprecedented 2016 campaign, you know this: Donald Trump’s solid core of support comes from white working-class America. As the blue-collar voter has become central to the political conversation, a clear picture of who we’re talking about has emerged: He’s likely male and disillusioned with the economy and loss of industry. He’s a coal miner that’s been laid off in Hazard, Kentucky, and is scraping by off his wife’s income; a machinists’ union member in a Pennsylvania steel town who says “a guy like Donald Trump, he’s pushing for change.” Through the campaign, we’ve seen endless portraits of Trump support in the heart of Appalachian coal country, and a recent spate of books documents white working-class alienation and the history of the white underclass in America. Trump’s iron grip on the support of blue-collar white Americans has been one of the most striking threads of his unprecedented campaign.
The state of North Carolina is a focus for both candidates in the campaign’s final weeks. The majority of college-educated white women here supported Mitt Romney in 2012, but accusations against Donald Trump, and his inflammatory rhetoric, have alienated that crucial voting bloc. Judy Woodruff reports from the Tar Heel State, where she interviewed female voters struggling with this year’s choice.
Two numbers worth considering. In the aftermath of the release of the hot-mic recording of Donald Trump casually discussing sexual assault last week, several polls have considered how voters reacted to the revelation.
After the vice-presidential debate Tuesday, Fox News’s Megyn Kelly sat down with Kellyanne Conway, perhaps alerted to the presence of Donald Trump’s campaign manager thanks to the candidate’s tweet. Toward the end of the segment, Conway noted that Hillary Clinton is barely earning half of the vote from women.
What’s happening among these women? I spoke to a number of educated GOP women who say they’re voting for Hillary, seeking to find out not just what drove their decision, but what kind of impact it is having on their lives. What I found was that Trump is splitting Republican households, with wives canceling out their husbands’ votes for the GOP; many will pull the lever for Hillarydespite strong resistance and flat-out opposition from their spouses, families and communities. And many are even keeping their decision a secret from those closest to them.