There is contradictory evidence with regards to Donald Trump’s standing with women and whether or not he has a serious problem with females going into the November election.
On the one hand, polls show huge numbers of women who say they can’t see themselves supporting the candidate. On the other hand, exit polls from several primaries actually show Trump doing better with women than any other GOP candidate.
Indeed, Trump may not have a big problem with Republican women. But the general election may be a different story.
A new CNN poll released Thursday, taken before the spat with rival Ted Cruz over his wife, found that 73 percent of registered female voters in the United States had an unfavorable view of Trump. That’s in line with a Reuters poll from last week that found more than half of American women hold a “very unfavorable” view of the billionaire.
“That gives him a huge number of voters he has to make up from somewhere,” said American University political science professor Karen O’Connor. “And I don’t know where they will come from.”
Opposition to Trump among women also extends to the GOP. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 47 percent of Republican women could not see themselves supporting Trump, a number significantly higher than for any other GOP candidate.
“It further highlights the calamity that a Donald Trump nomination would be,” said Doug Heye, a former Republican National Committee aide who opposes Trump.
“While Republicans in the past have cried foul, rightly so, about Democrats talking about a war on women — Donald Trump has personally waged a war on women for decades.”
The latest controversy to stir talk of sexism flared Thursday, when Trump retweeted a picture of his wife, Melania Trump, and the wife of his main rival in the GOP race, Ted Cruz. The comparison with Heidi Cruz was accompanied by the caption, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
The spouse rivalry started Tuesday night, after Cruz and Trump split primary victories in Arizona and Utah. In a tweet, the businessman threatened to “spill the beans” about Heidi Cruz.
Trump said the first tweet was in response an ad from an anti-Trump super-PAC that showed a nude photo of his wife from a GQ shoot. That ad had implored voters to choose Cruz.
Cruz says he had nothing to do with the ad, while Heidi Cruz added that, “most of the things Donald Trump says have no basis in reality.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California, tweeted Thursday that Trump “has once again insulted all women.”
“He does not deserve even one woman’s vote,” she said.
More important than the numbers of women who say they can’t support Trump are those women with a “very unfavorable” view of the candidate. Those women are probably not persuadable and may even be motivated to go to the polls just to vote against Trump.
That spells disaster:
“Donald Trump has no ability to defeat Hillary Clinton … the math is not there,” said Katie Packer, a former top Mitt Romney aide who runs the main anti-Trump group, Our Principles PAC.
“Mitt Romney lost women 56 to 44 percent, Donald Trump is losing women 68 to 32 percent. The unfortunately reality for Donald Trump is if he wanted to be president, he should have run in 1904 — before women had the right to vote and before minorities had the right to vote.”
And the Democrats haven’t even started their “Trump hates women” ads.
The candidate isn’t helping himself with this bizarre Twitter war with Cruz over their respective wives. It doesn’t matter who started it. It’s making both candidates look petty and small. It certainly gives women who vote a reason not to support either candidate.
Trump keeps saying he will start acting “more presidential” – someday. But as long as he keeps picking these ridiculous fights and sneers at women, it will be that much harder to gain a decent portion of the female vote and give himself a fighting chance to win in November.