Female voters are key to Democrats' potential success in 2020, according to a new CNN/SSRS poll. In fact, if the 2020 election were held today, President Donald Trump would lose to three of the most-mentioned potential 2020 Democrats by significant margins, and it's largely due to women "across virtually every age, education and racial range" galvanizing themselves against him.
Among women, former Vice President Joe Biden enjoys a 36-point edge over Trump among women, while Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) leads Trump by 30 points. TV personality Oprah Winfrey, who sparked rumors of a presidential run after an impassioned speech at the Golden Globe awards ceremony, trails just behind Sanders, with 29 points.
The numbers detailing Trump's performance with various female subgroups are even more significant:
- The data indicates that Trump is rapidly losing support among white women voters, who were integral to his electoral victory. Biden beats Trump by 23 points among white women. Sanders beats Trump by 17 points in this subgroup. Oprah's margin is 14.
- Biden leads Trump by 44 points among women who identify as political independents. Sanders leads the incumbent by 28 points, while Oprah's edge is 26 points.
- Sanders takes the lead among women 50 years old and younger, with 49 points. Biden is just behind Sanders, with 47 points. Oprah has a 41 point advantage.
CNN's Chris Cillizza sums it up below:
Women made up 53% of the electorate in 2016 and have cast a majority of the votes in every presidential election since 1984. The largest margin among women in a modern presidential election was Bill Clinton's 16-point win in his swamping of Bob Dole in 1996. Barack Obama won women by 13 points in 2008 and 11 points in 2012 -- roughly equivalent to the 13-point margin for Clinton in 2016. The point here is simple: If Trump loses women by double digits, it's very hard to make the math add up for him.
The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS January 14-18 among a random national sample of 918 registered voters reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. No interviewing was completed on January 16 due to weather conditions at call center locations. Results for all registered voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
White women have backed Republicans for president more than they have Democrats in previous elections. For example, most white women––56 percent, in fact––voted for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama in 2012. The Washington Post notes that "most white women without degrees backed the GOP presidential nominee in every presidential election since 2000."
Many liberal white women found the fact that 44 percent of white women voted for a man accused of sexual assault by more than 20 women rather problematic.
“A lot of this election was turned by white, college-educated women who now would like to forget about this election and go back to watching HGTV,” actress Tina Fey said in 2017 at a Facebook Live fundraiser for the American Civil Liberties Union. “You can’t look away because it doesn’t affect you this minute, but it’s going to affect you eventually.”
Indeed it has.
For example, in October, women from both sides of the aisle fired back at the Trump administration said the Affordable Care Act does not explicitly require coverage of contraceptives and will reverse the federal requirement for employers to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. The move vastly expands exemptions for employers that cite moral or religious objections.
In the new rules, the Trump administration says “it is necessary and appropriate to provide the expanded exemptions,” and notes that applying the birth control mandate “to entities with sincerely held religious objections to it does not serve a compelling governmental interest.” The mandate also imposes a “substantial burden” on the free exercise of religion by certain employers with religious objections. The Trump administration will not require employers claiming exemptions to contraceptive coverage to “file notices or certifications” with the government, though they will be required to inform employees of changes in coverage.
Although many doctors, including obstetricians and gynecologists, have said that contraceptives have generally been beneficial to women’s health, the Trump administration maintains that the mandate could promote “risky sexual behavior” among some teenagers and young adults. The administration further notes that “the government already engages in dozens of programs that subsidize contraception for the low-income women” who are most at risk for unintended pregnancy.