One of the long standing features of the American political landscape has been the “gender gap,” that is, the phenomenon whereby women and men prefer different political parties.
We can have a long discussion about what, if anything, exit polls actually measure, but on the assumption that they measure anything at all this shows that while a gender gap doesn’t guarantee victory, what is obvious is that unless women break Democrat by at least 10 points the election will not be competitive.
For a couple of months now it has been obvious that Hillary Clinton is having a great deal of trouble appealing to women.
The Clinton campaign went into overdrive this week to shore up support among voters most assumed would have been locked in as Clinton backers from the start—Democratic women.
From last Saturday’s kickoff of “New Hampshire Women for Hillary,” to Clinton’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last Thursday where she pitched, “If you vote for somebody on the merits, one of my merits is that I’m a woman,” to an online campaign store newly stocked with lady-friendly merch (official “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” tote, anyone?) the not-at-all subtle message is this: Hey ladies, vote for Hillary!
The female hard sell is coming as a series of local and national polls show that Clinton’s strength among Democratic women voters has continued to steadily, and in some cases, precipitously erode as her campaign has become bogged down in questions over use of a private email server and Sen. Bernie Sanders has risen on a wave of populist support that the Clinton camp had mostly dismissed or ignored.
The latest bad news for Clinton came last week from the NBC News/Marist poll Sanders Leads Clinton by 9 in N.H., Gains in Iowa: Poll, which showed Clinton losing to Sanders by nine percentage points in New Hampshire, thanks mostly a huge drop in Clinton’s female support. Although Clinton still held onto women by seven points, her lead among women there is down 16 points since July. The same holds true in Iowa, where Clinton’s lead among Democratic women shrank 24 points between July and September. A previous PPP poll showed Clinton losing New Hampshire women to Sanders by three points.
“I think there is concern on her campaign about the gender gap, which has gotten significantly narrower since our poll in July,” said Lee Mirengoff, the director of the Marist poll. “The campaign seems to understand that although they have a firewall they are trying to build in the South, women are really what this campaign’s strongest base is and they don’t want any slippage there.”
Let’s face it, if she can’t achieve gynecological appeal, she’s left to campaign on bitterness, incompetence, graft, and corruption. Not to say a Democrat can’t win, look at 2012, for instance, but it will make her job much, much harder.
The latest bit of bad news for Clinton came in the Quinnipiac Poll released yesterday. Quinnipiac did several head-to-head match-ups with Hillary.
Hillary Clinton versus Ben Carson
Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton versus [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ]
Hillary Clinton versus [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ]
Hillary Clinton versus Chris Christie (why? I don’t know.)
This is stunning. Ben Carson beats Hillary outright. Rubio, Cruz, and Christie are nearly within the polls margin of error and they are so close that their advantage in men swamps the gender advantage. Only Donald Trump suffers with women voters.
If this poll reflects reality — and that reality doesn’t change substantially to our disadvantage — 2016 will be an utter rout if Hillary is the Democrat nominee.