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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Is the gender gap growing among blue collar workers?
by digby

Ron Brownstein takes a look at the gender gap:
In 2016, the overall gender gap widened to its highest level since at least 1980: Hillary Clinton ran 13 percentage points better with women than men. But the gap was so large not because she ran particularly well among women: in fact, she drew a smaller share of the white female vote than the Democratic nominees did from 1996 through 2008.

Mostly the gender gap was so pronounced because Clinton posted historically low numbers with white men, especially those without college degrees. Although Clinton ran well among African-American women and college-educated white women, Trump beat her badly among married white women, narrowed the usual Democratic advantage among single white women, and posted the best showing for a Republican among non-college white women since Ronald Reagan in 1984, according to exit polls.

Trump's success at carrying most white women against the first major-party female nominee showed the mistake of considering them a monolith through the all-encompassing prism of the gender gap. His inroads demonstrated that many blue-collar, evangelical, older and non-urban women responded to his nationalist, culturally conservative and anti-elitist messages -- just as the equivalent men did.

An array of polls shows that women in Trump's coalition take more conservative positions than Democratic-leaning and college-educated women not only on racially-tinged cultural issues such as immigration and civil rights, but also on gender-related questions about the proper roles of men and women.

In a 2016 PRRI/Atlantic survey, 40% of Republican-leaning women compared to just 28% of Democratic-leaning women, agreed that society is "better off when men and women stick to the jobs and tasks for which they are naturally suited."

In its American Trends Panel on-line survey, the Pew Research Center has likewise found big gaps between Republican- and Democratic-women over gender roles, relationships and parenting, according to previously unpublished findings provided to CNN. In that survey, Pew asked about the impact of social changes that have seen "more women now work outside the home and more men ... involved with household chores." Democratic-leaning women were about twice as likely to say those changes had made it easier, rather than harder, to raise children; a plurality of Republican-leaning women said the changes had made raising children harder. Likewise, Democratic-leaning women by more than two-to-one said those changes had made it easier for a marriage to succeed; Republican-leaning women divided equally on whether the changes made it easier or harder. Far more Democratic- than Republican-leaning women in the survey said it was appropriate to encourage young boys to undertake activities usually associated with young girls.

On sexual harassment itself, a gap persists between Democratic- and Republican-leaning women. In a January ABC/Washington Post poll, Democratic women were much more likely than Republican women to describe sexual harassment as a "serious" problem for society (86% vs 61%.) Among Democratic women nearly twice many said the problem has not received enough, rather than too much, attention. By contrast, Republican women were three times as likely to say harassment has received too much, rather than too little, attention.
Nonetheless, Brownstein sees the differences between GOP men and women as being an important opening for Democrats. Recent polling is showing that blue-collar white women are starting to abandon Trump. There aren't a lot of them, but there are enough that it could put a dent in his coalition:

Compared to his vote in 2016, Trump's approval rating among those blue-collar white women has conspicuously declined. Trump won 61% of white women without a college degree in 2016, according to exit polls; but his approval rating among them tumbled to 48% in the full year 2017 average of Gallup polling.
He fell the same amount from college educated white women but they didn't like him much to begin with. There are virtually no African American women Trum p supporters and he's fallen from a pathetic 25% approval among Latinas down to 15%.


Most analysts believe the biggest reason for this consistent pattern of significant decline among women across the board is that Trump's drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to pass a tax bill they saw as tilted toward the top has dented their confidence he will provide them more economic security. But polls also leave no doubt that many of these women have watched his volatile behavior as president with alarm.
I'm sure there are those who are disillusioned by his abandonment of economic populism. And there will surely be some more who are appalled by his behavior in the Porter scandal. But it's that last that I would imagine has resulted in some of his women supporters losing faith in him: the chaos. His male followers may find all this "disruption" energizing and exciting but I'd imagine that more women find it threatening.

Like his right hand man Rob Porter, Trump is unpredictable and explosive. Some women probably sense that same danger in him.