Donald Trump’s Women Voter Problem is Getting Worse

With seven months to go until November’s presidential election and the majority of polls showing the presumptive presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden are basically neck-and-neck, the pair both need every vote they can to secure the keys to the White House.

But Trump, the Republican former president, may be hampering his chances at success because of his standing with one key demographic in the adult voting population: women.

Polls show that the proportion of women who plan to vote for Trump in November is less than the proportion who voted for him in the 2020 election. Meanwhile, experts told Newsweek Trump’s views on abortion and his recent legal cases involving women will impact voter behavior on polling day.

Newsweek contacted a representative for Trump by email to comment on this story.

Donald and Melania Trump
Donald Trump, arrives at the home of billionaire investor John Paulson, with former first lady Melania Trump, on April 6, 2024, in Palm Beach, Florida. Polls and expert statements show the Republican will struggle to…

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In 2020, Trump’s vote share among women in the 2020 election improved from 2016, rising from 39 percent to 44 percent while Biden won 55 percent of the vote, according to analysis from the Pew Research Center.

But according to a January Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters, 58 percent of women now back Biden while 36 percent back Trump. In December, the same polling company found the gap was 53 percent to 41 percent, showing Trump’s support among women is declining.

Donald Trump's Women Voter Problem is Worse
Polls and expert statements show the Republican will struggle to court the female vote in the 2024 presidential election.

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An April poll by The New York Times and Siena College, known as the most accurate pollster in the country, also gave Biden a 16-point lead over Trump among women, with 53 percent of the vote share to Trump’s 37 percent.

Meanwhile, according to an exclusive poll for Newsweek, the gender divide in American politics is widening, with men becoming increasingly conservative and women leaning liberal.

With polls so tight, Trump’s declining support among women could cost him the election.

Speaking to Newsweek, Heath Brown, an associate professor of public policy at City University of New York, said the political gender gap “will grow in the future” in part because of the abortion debate currently gripping America.

In 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 court decision that granted a women’s right to a medical abortion. Since then, a number of states have enacted near-total bans on abortion.

In April, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the state must abide by the 1864 law that makes abortion punishable by between two and five years in prison. The only exception is if the mother’s life is at risk due to the pregnancy.

In the same month, Trump said he believes abortion limits should be left to the states and said he was proud of the overturning of Roe V. Wade. His statement triggered a backlash from anti-abortion groups and polls have suggested abortion remains a challenging issue for Republicans.

“It seems clear that there is a political gender gap that is real and will grow in the future,” Brown said.

He added: “One contributing factor is the importance placed on women’s reproductive justice, the issue that there is the greatest difference in importance between young men (42 percent) and young women (58 percent).

“Abortion rights is the most important issue in this campaign right now and likely will continue to be until the election in November.”

Mark Shanahan, an associate professor in politics at the University of Surrey in the U.K. said Trump had an “aggressive, macho and somewhat whiny style” which puts female voters off him.

He told Newsweek: “In 2016, there was a myth that Trump won more votes from women than Clinton—he didn’t, around 42 percent of women voted for him. That figure remained almost the same in 2020, although the ex-president performed somewhat better among older, white and especially evangelical women. But Trump’s aggressive, macho and somewhat whiny style appears to be working even less well in attracting female voters outside this MAGA core this time.”

He added that Trump’s stance on abortion as well as his recent court cases against women have also contributed to him losing the support of this demographic.

In January, Trump was ordered to pay $83.3 million in damages to E. Jean Carroll, a journalist, for statements made in 2019. He said she was lying about allegations that he sexually assaulted her inside a Manhattan department store dressing room in the 1990s. He was previously ordered to pay Carroll $5 million in damages last year in another civil defamation trial stemming from a denial he made about her claims in 2022. He has repeatedly denied all wrongdoing and has said he will appeal the verdict.

This week his hush money trial, started, which will determine whether Trump falsified business records over payments to two women, former adult film star Stormy Daniels and McDougal, to keep alleged affairs between them secret before the 2016 election, so as not to harm his campaign.

Trump has also been accused of sexual assault by more than a dozen women, which he denies. He once boasted of grabbing women “by the p***y” as heard in the infamous Access Hollywood tape.

“His enabling of the overturning of Roe v Wade, his boorish Alpha male characterisation in the media and his recent court appearances in both the E Jean Carroll and Stormy Daniels cases do little to win over younger, more centrist or minority women—and the older end of his MAGA 2016 support is dying off,” Shanahan said. “Biden has tied himself to his support of women’s reproductive rights, and while hardly the most liberal of Democrats, largely supports progressive female causes. it is no surprise he’s polling well ahead of Trump among women.”

Thomas Whalen an associate professor who teaches U.S. politics at Boston University, agreed that the abortion debate has contributed to women’s views on Trump.

“Trump has always had a women problem,” he told Newsweek. “What’s changed is that the Dobbs decision has made women’s reproduction rights an even more prominent issue than it was. Despite his best attempts to muddle the issue, Trump can’t escape his full-throated past endorsement of those forces looking to deny a woman’s right to choose.

“The great pitcher Satchel Paige once advised, don’t look back, something might be gaining on you. Well, in Trump’s case, the abortion issue is ready to pass him by and leave in the political dust come Nov. 5 among women voters. He has no one to blame but himself.”