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Is the Female Vote What Ails Trump in the Polls?

Rasmussen’s weekly White House Watch survey is beginning to see-saw, but the devil is in the crosstabs.

As predicted, the road to who will occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will be a bumpy one, and Rasmussen’s latest White House Watch survey illustrates this perfectly. In its first week, the study had Joe Biden ten points ahead. Last week it was neck-and-neck, with Trump and the former vice president separated by only two points. And in this, the third week, Mr. Biden widened his lead with 48% to Mr. Trump’s 42% – but the devil is in the crosstabs.

Crosstab Check Please

While White House Watch is a national survey, it is methodically implemented and, as such, should carry some weight in the ongoing discussion of predicting who will win the November contest. Rasmussen surveys 2,500 likely voters, and its demographics closely mirror the American electorate.

One item worth attention is the race tab. While the Democratic challenger garners a full 60% of the black vote, Mr. Trump comes in with 31%. That’s a high number for a Republican and represents a strong showing for the president.

However, where Biden appears to rake in is the female crosstab. Women prefer Biden 51% to Trump’s 40%. Rasmussen polled more women than men (53% – 47%), but this is primarily because, since 1980, more women vote than men. Thus it appears the Trump campaign needs to shore up this gender gap before election day.

New research covering 100 years of the 19th Amendment may provide some clues for the Trump strategists. A Century of Votes for Women: American Elections Since Suffrage, a book co-authored by University of Notre Dame professor of Political Science Christina Wolbrecht and professor of political science at Western Michigan University, J. Kevin Corder, dispels the notion that there is one giant female vote bloc. They note that while women are more likely to vote on issues surrounding the home, “It is not, however, the only or even the most important factor that shapes political choices of women.” In other words, not every woman in America is a soccer mom.

An article by Phys.org homed in on what these researchers found regarding the female vote for the 2016 presidential election. Colleen Sharkey wrote, “The 2016 campaign season and election highlighted sex and gender in ways few could have predicted.” Considering Trump went head-to-head against a woman, he did surprisingly well. Was some of that pure female distaste for Hillary Clinton? With his announcement that he will pick a female as vice president, Biden again brings gender into the mix in a high-profile way. Should this woman be likable to other women, that may spell further trouble for Trump. If, however, female voters find Biden’s pick unappealing, that could be a help to the president on election day.

Last time around, Mr. Trump received 52% of the male vote and 39% of women, according to the Pew Research Center. It was primarily white women that provided a crucial assist to the president’s victory, with Trump at 47% and Mrs. Clinton with only 45%. While there is nothing to suggest these women have deserted the president this time around, his campaign would do well to pay attention to the gender gap and do everything it can to appeal to the ever-more-crucial female voter.

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Read more from Leesa K. Donner.

Read More From Leesa K. Donner

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