The FINANCIAL — After Donald Trump’s controversial comments about women’s issues and about Fox News’ Megyn Kelly in particular, many observers are wondering if Trump can muster the female support required to win the GOP primary. Trump has a lower favorability rating among Republican women than among Republican men (50% vs. 59%, respectively). However, this gender gap is fairly typical for many of the current GOP candidates.
These data come from the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, conducted July 8 through Aug. 13 with a random sample of 18,259 adults aged 18 and older, including 7,446 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. A random subset of respondents rated each candidate during this period, with the sample sizes rating each candidate averaging about 7,490 national adults and 3,021 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.
Twelve of the 16 Republican candidates asked about receive a significantly higher favorable score from Republican men than from Republican women. The gender gap is 16 percentage points — the widest for any candidate — for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, closely followed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul with a 13-point gap. Carly Fiorina, the sole female GOP candidate, has a slightly higher favorability rating among Republican men (33%) than among Republican women (29%). Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former New York Gov. George Pataki receive statistically similar ratings from Republican women and men, all within three points of one another.
Gender Gap Also Evident Among National Adults
Among all U.S. adults, men are also more likely than women to view Trump favorably (38% vs. 29%, respectively). As is the case among Republicans, this gender gap is typical for national ratings of GOP candidates. Graham, Bush and Pataki are the only candidates who enjoy similar favorability ratings among men and women nationally; men view all others more positively than women do.
Female Favorability for Trump Appears Unchanged After Debate
Although it may be too soon to measure the full effect of the first GOP primary debate, Gallup data collected Aug. 7-13 — the first full week following the debate — show that so far there has been no significant change in Trump’s standing among women. Twenty-nine percent of U.S. women viewed him favorably in the weeks before the debate, and 30% viewed him favorably the week after.
Women in the U.S. are, in general, more likely to identify as Democrats than to identify as Republicans. Further, according to exit polls, 55% of women supported President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. This persistent gender gap in U.S. politics presents a continuing challenge for Republican candidates. Another challenge for Republican presidential candidates is that even among women who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, women tend to be less likely than men to view GOP candidates favorably.
It is too early to tell whether the first debate — and the comments and media coverage that followed — will negatively affect Trump’s campaign among women in the long run. The data so far do not indicate that they have.
The billionaire candidate has since declared that, if elected, he will be “phenomenal to the women,” although when pressed about his stance on equal pay for equal work, he refused to comment. Trump has promised a fuller summary of his policies in the coming weeks.