How Many Women Voted For Trump?
A majority of white women voted for Donald Trump: It’s the statistic that launched a thousand narratives. “You know, I got 52% with women,” President Donald Trump said at a press conference in late September, falsely conflating the figure for white women with the figure for women overall, whom he did not win. “Everybody said this couldn’t happen—52%.”
That figure, 52 percent, is clearly incorrect. Why? Because we know that Trump 1) received more support from men than from women and 2) lost the popular vote. So if he’d received majorities of men and women, it would have been awfully hard for him to get a minority of the ballots cast.
Checking the exit polls shows that, in fact, Trump was wrong. He got only 41 percent of the vote from women. He got 52 percent from men.
In a Quinnipiac University poll released this week, Trump’s approval rating was 38 percent — and 33 percent among women.
The number of women who identify as Republican has declined over the last two years from 27% in 2016 to 25% in 2017. But we believe it would be wrong to expect, in this political moment, a mass exodus of women from the GOP.
In fact, 52% of white women in 2016 cast their vote for Donald Trump. That was despite the 22 allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Roy Moore got 63% of the white women’s vote in the 2017 Alabama Senate race, despite the sexual misconduct allegations against him. And Republican women were the only demographic that increased its support for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during the hearings of sexual assault allegations during his confirmation process in October.
Our research led us to conclude that Republican women will mainly stand firm in their party affiliation. They are loyal to the party, even if political moderates and those who identify as the progressive Left have concluded that the GOP does not respect women’s voices and bodies.
But does this mean that Republican women consciously accept second-class status when they stand up for their party?
It’s true that Republicans do not tend to identify as “feminists.” A Pew Research Center poll conducted in September and October found that only 14% of Republicans said that the term “feminist” describes them well, compared to 60% of Democrats.
However, we have found that Republicanism encompasses different visions of womanhood that allow women to feel that they can be Republican and also strong women.
Overall, whites with a four-year college degree or more education made up 30% of all validated voters. Among these voters, far more (55%) said they voted for Clinton than for Trump (38%). Among the much larger group of white voters who had not completed college (44% of all voters), Trump won by more than two-to-one (64% to 28%).
There also were large differences in voter preferences by gender, age and marital status. Women were 13 percentage points more likely than men to have voted for Clinton (54% among women, 41% among men). The gender gap was particularly large among validated voters younger than 50. In this group, 63% of women said they voted for Clinton, compared with just 43% of men. Among voters ages 50 and older, the gender gap in support for Clinton was much narrower (48% vs. 40%).
About half (52%) of validated voters were married; among them, Trump had a 55% to 39% majority. Among unmarried voters, Clinton led by a similar margin (58% to 34%).
Just 13% of validated voters in 2016 were younger than 30. Voters in this age group reported voting for Clinton over Trump by a margin of 58% to 28%, with 14% supporting one of the third-party candidates. Among voters ages 30 to 49, 51% supported Clinton and 40% favored Trump. Trump had an advantage among 50- to 64-year-old voters (51% to 45%) and those 65 and older (53% to 44%).
Why Did Women Vote for Donald Trump?
Popular accounts of the 2016 presidential election attribute Donald Trump’s victory to the mobilization of angry white men seeking to restore traditional values and social roles. Whereas a majority of Trump voters were male, more than 40% of women who went to the polls on Election Day also supported him. This analysis explores the motivations of these women, asking how partisanship, demographics, and beliefs motivated their vote choice. We found that, although party affiliation was an important predictor of both women’s and men’s vote choice, sexism and racial resentment had a greater influence on voters of both genders. Moreover, the influence of these biases was similar for women and men.