Post-Impeachment, Women Still Sour on Trump

A new report released Wednesday by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) throws cold water on recent speculation that President Donald J. Trump’s approval ratings are on the rise.

According to PRRI’s survey of over 40,000 Americans, opinions about Trump have remained remarkably stable. Overall, a majority of Americans—55 percent—view Trump unfavorably, while only 41 percent view him favorably.

Women’s abiding and intense disapproval of Trump continues to be a significant factor in keeping his ratings underwater. (Victoria Pickering / Creative Commons)

As has been true throughout the entire Trump presidency, women’s abiding and intense disapproval of Trump has been a significant factor in keeping his ratings underwater.

“It’s very consistent across almost every group of women. They are a significant drag on Trump’s favorability,” PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones told Ms.

Trump’s Unfavorability Among Democratic Base Groups

Women are 1.5 times less likely than men to view Trump favorably. That negative sentiment is most powerful among Democratic base groups, with more African-American women and Latinas disapproving of Trump than their male counterparts (although a sizable majority of men in these groups also view the president negatively).

Unfavorable views of Trump are held most strongly by African-American women: 81 percent of them are unfavorable toward the president, compared to 71 percent of African-American men—a 10-point gender gap.

The gender gap between Hispanic women and men is slightly higher—11 points—with 68 percent of Hispanic women disapproving of the president, compared to 57 percent of Hispanic men.

Among nonwhites under 30, there is a striking 15-point gender gap: 75 percent of nonwhite women between the ages of 15 and 29 hold unfavorable views of Trump, compared to 60 percent of young men in the same group.

Religiously unaffiliated women also disapprove of Trump dramatically more so than their male counterparts: 72 percent versus 57 percent, a 15-point gender gap.

Similarly, 65 percent of multiracial women versus 49 percent of multiracial men hold unfavorable views toward Trump, a 16-point difference.

The gender gap between non-Christian religious women and men is the most dramatic: Unfavorability reaches 71 percent of women in this group, compared to 53 percent of men—a difference of 18 points.

Gender Gaps Also Present Among Trump’s Base

Yet Trump’s problems with women extend beyond groups that typically favor Democrats. Given women’s propensity to turn out to vote in higher numbers than men, this spells trouble for Trump.

Even in groups making up Trump’s base, women view the president less favorably than their male counterparts do. Only in two groups of women—self-identified Republicans and white evangelical Protestants—do a majority of women hold favorable views of the president: 78 percent and 59 percent respectively. (In comparison, 82 percent of Republican men and 69 percent of white evangelical Protestant men hold favorable views of Trump.)

Gender gaps are present in other GOP-leaning groups, too: only 46 percent of non-college-educated white women approve of Trump, compared to 58 percent of men of the same group, a difference of 12 points.

More broadly, the gender gap among whites is 13 percentage points: 55 percent of white men hold a favorable view of Trump, compared to just 42 percent of white women overall.

While still large, the gender gap is slightly less defined in whites over the age of 50. Fifty-eight percent of white men 51 years of age and older approve of the president, compared to 47 percent of women in the same group.

The largest gender gap within Trump’s base are between Mormon men and Mormon women: 64 percent of men and 45 percent of women respectively, a stark difference of 19 points.

Trouble for Trump Among White Women

More threatening to Trump’s reelection prospects, the PRRI report offers strong evidence that white women will be a key swing group, as they were in the 2018 midterm elections.

To be sure, white women who self-identify as Republican and white evangelical women remain firmly in the president’s camp. But every other group of white women holds unfavorable views of Trump. Self-identified Democratic white women rate Trump very unfavorably, and only 14 percent view him favorably. Of the 31 percent of white women who identify as independents, six out of ten view Trump unfavorably. Likewise, roughly six out of ten suburban white women hold unfavorable views of the president.  Support for Trump among non-college educated white women has eroded since they gave Trump the majority of their votes in 2016. A slight majority now views him unfavorably.

White women with college degrees, a pivotal voting bloc that swung Democratic in the 2018 elections, persist in their negative appraisal of Trump, with two out of three viewing him unfavorably. Importantly, they showed particular sensitivity to news of Trump’s corruption.

“There were double-digit dips in favorability in response to events such as the Mueller report and impeachment, indicating vulnerability for Trump,” Jones said. “They’re paying attention to the news cycle and being impacted by the news.”

He added, “If I were looking at this as a Republican strategist, I’d be worried about white college educated women and the volatility they’re showing.”

Presidential elections with an incumbent on the ballot are in large part referendums on the person occupying the Oval Office. Women have rendered their verdict on Trump. They show no signs of changing their opinion. If Democrats successfully turn the 2020 election into a referendum on Trump, the odds are good that America’s women voters will send Trump packing.

About

Nancy L. Cohen is an editor-at-large for Ms. She is the author of four books, including Delirium: The Politics of Sex in America and Breakthrough: The Making of America’s First Woman President. She has appeared as a guest on MSNBC and her writing has been published in the New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and elsewhere. Find her on Facebook and Twitter @nancylcohen.