One site I like to consistently monitor is FiveThirtyEight. Statistician, Nate Silver, and his team are constantly helping make sense of all the daily polls we’re inundated with, and for a guy who views a cavalcade of numbers and scary clown sightings as equivalent, FiveThirtyEight is a godsend.
One pattern they see emerging in the numbers, however, is that this election is being heavily influenced by women. In fact, it’s an undeniable influence that is likely one of the biggest deciding factors in this election. Not long ago, I covered how Silver noticed the turnout of women in this election season is above and beyond normal, and what’s more, it’s all against Trump.
New polling, as covered by FiveThirtyEight, has further shown this to be true. Harry Enten points out that while this is just another election for men, for women, it’s special.
As my colleague Nate Silver has pointed out, women are winning this election for Clinton. Between the historic nature of Clinton’s candidacy, Trump’s record of misogynistic comments and now the Trump tape and allegations of sexual assault against Trump, American men and women are incredibly split on the 2016 election. But that split isn’t symmetrical. In an average of the most recent live-interview polls from each pollster to test the race in October, Clinton holds a 20-percentage-point advantage among women, and Trump is winning more narrowly among men.
The unique mixture of the temptation to have the first woman in the Oval office, and the repulsive nature of Trump has caused a massive slant for the fairer sex in favor of Clinton. The inspiration has been so large, that women are expected to turn out in record number for Democrats.
This doesn’t mean that women in the GOP are suddenly switching sides for Hillary, however. Clare Malone points out that Republican ladies are still backing Trump by a huge majority, and that partisanship comes before outrage.
The strength of partisanship has proven more powerful than many could have imagined, as Republicans, including Republican women, decide that the agenda of their party matters above all else this election. That Morning Consult poll found that support for Trump was about equal between Republican men and women. And 82 percent of Republican women and 84 percent of Republican men are still supporting Trump, according to SurveyMonkey data from October 3-9.1
So the GOP can count on women’s party loyalty to hold out, but this is not seem to count the women who left the party due to a Trump presidency. Some of those turning out for Hillary may be included, but protest vote patterns amongst people point to the likelihood of them going 3rd party. This means that women who typically don’t turn out at voting locations are set to do so.
It should be noted, however, that these numbers could slack off once it comes time to put rubber to road, says Enten.
It’s possible the gender gap on Election Day will turn out smaller than indicated by current live-interview polls. Nonlive polls, for instance, such as those conducted online or via automated voice technology, have found a smaller gender gap. That could be because online polls and robo-polls tend to require heavier weighting — the raw samples reached by these polls often aren’t as representative. Live-interview polls tend to be more accurate, on average, which is why they are studied here, but the nonlive polls could be closer to the mark this year.
The punchline here, regardless of all the maybe’s, is that women seem to be the factor here that makes or breaks a candidate. At this time, the presence of women on the electoral battlefield is being felt, even before the booths open. And while the GOP may be maintaining a status quo, that’s not stopping a motivated voting bloc from keeping Hillary floating higher than Trump.
To wobble any numbers, it would seem the GOP is going to have to put some focus on attracting women again. This has been something of an afterthought to the Trump campaign in the past, which may be just another part of the reason he’s not doing so well. Hillary, in the meantime, has made this election about women in a very large regard. If the poll numbers are correct, then she invested wisely.