It’s no secret that there’s a “gender gap” in American politics, with men being more likely to vote Republican and women more likely to vote Democratic. And it’s also no surprise that in 2016, that gender gap increased: According to exit polls, Donald Trump won 52 percent of the vote among men and only 41 percent among women. By contrast, in 2008 John McCain won 48 percent among men and 43 percent among women, a five-point “gender gap” as compared to an 11-point gap in 2016. As the closest thing to an open misogynist leading a national ticket in a very long time, Trump’s weakness among women was predictable.
But according to new data from a year-long SurveyMonkey assessment of Trump’s approval ratings, which Ron Brownstein has broken down for us, it seems Trump’s weakness among women is intensifying as his presidency unfolds, even — and particularly —among the white working-class women who did support him at robust levels in 2016.
[H]is position has deteriorated among white women without a college degree. Last year he carried 61 percent of them. But in the new SurveyMonkey average, they split evenly, with 49 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval. His approval rating among non-college-educated white women never rises above 54 percent in any age group, even those older than 50. From February through December, Trump’s approval rating fell more with middle-aged blue-collar white women than any other group.
Similar if not quite as dramatic drops in female support for Trump appear elsewhere in the electorate.
Trump’s position has also eroded since 2016 among college-educated white women. In 2016, those white-collar voters preferred Hillary Clinton over Trump but gave her only 51 percent of their votes. Now, in the 2017 average, 66 percent of them disapproved of Trump and 58 percent strongly disapproved. In every age cohort, at least three-fifths of them disapproved.
And in demographic groups where Trump was already weak, women are very much in the vanguard of opposition to him:
Trump in 2016 narrowly won younger whites. But he now faces crushing disapproval ratings ranging from 62 percent to 76 percent among three big groups of white Millennials: women with and without a college degree, and men with a degree.
That’s particularly true among minority voters:
Among African Americans and Hispanics, reactions to Trump depend more on gender than age or education. In every age group, and at every level of education, about twice as many African American men as women gave Trump positive marks. In all, 23 percent of black men approved of Trump’s performance versus 11 percent of black women. “The outlier here isn’t [black] men … it’s [black] women, where you have near-universal disapproval of Trump,” said Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster who studies African American voters.
Among Hispanic men older than 50, Trump’s approval— strikingly—exceeded 40 percent. But at least three-fifths of Hispanic women in every age group (including both those with and without a college degree) disapproved.
There are obviously two sides to any gender gap, and Trump does maintain relatively strong support among men, especially non-college-educated white men over 50. And he has, as Brownstein puts it, “a modest but durable beachhead among African American and Hispanic men.” But he’s going to have a hard time winning reelection if he keeps losing support among white working-class women without making gains elsewhere. And they are unlikely to be impressed by the reactionary economic agenda Trump and his congressional allies spent 2017 pursuing.