Women voters are giving President Biden’s reelection campaign hope ahead of an expected rematch against former President Trump.
Support for Biden from women is on the rise, a survey published this week found, giving the campaign some optimism amid otherwise tough polling and a challenging 10 months ahead.
The president has put extra attention on appealing to women voters, especially around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade last month. That has dovetailed with stepped-up campaign travel and focus on pivotal states where he needs to win again in 2024, such as South Carolina, Michigan and Nevada.
And Trump’s recent “unforced errors,” combined with his defamation case loss to E. Jean Carroll, may hurt him with this demographic, some experts caution.
A Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday found that 58 percent of women said they support Biden, up from 53 percent in December. Meanwhile, 53 percent of men polled said they support Trump, which was “largely unchanged” from 51 percent in December.
“The gender demographic tells a story to keep an eye on. Propelled by female voters in just the past few weeks, the head-to-head tie with Trump morphs into a modest lead for Biden,” Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said in the report.
Biden won 55 percent of the women vote in 2020, and Trump won 44 percent, according to data from Pew Research Center. Those numbers marked gains for Trump, who received 39 percent of the women vote in 2016, compared to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s 54 percent.
The fall of Roe in 2022 gave Democrats an opening with women voters. Biden has worked to appeal to women on reproductive rights issues, highlighting in particular that Trump has taken credit for bringing an end to Roe.
“The coalition that sent Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House has only grown with the strong wins of the Biden-Harris administration, delivering on the issues that matter most to the voters who will decide this election — like protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, while Donald Trump triples down on a losing agenda of ripping away abortion rights with or without the help of Congress or the courts,” Biden campaign spokesperson Lauren Hitt told The Hill.
“As we’ve seen in election after election, Donald Trump’s anti-women MAGA agenda is a losing one. This November will be no different,” Hitt said.
Republicans see reasons for concern, pointing to past elections where women have played an integral role in the Democratic coalition.
“This also reflects what happened back in 2020 in a very troubling way for Republicans,” said Denise Gitsham, a Republican strategist. “What I’m seeing is this trend is not going well, and I bet you it has something to do with an emotional sense that Republican women like me get, that’s there’s not a lot of respect for women or that women are often the target of Donald Trump’s attacks.”
Trump’s remaining GOP primary opponent, Nikki Haley, has been his latest target. After defeating Haley in the New Hampshire primary last month, Trump spent most of his primary night speech attacking her, mocking Haley’s dress and calling her “birdbrain.”
“That just doesn’t sit well, whether you like his policies or don’t like his policies,” Gitsham said of the attacks.
“Everything is set up for Donald Trump to win in terms of the policies and the direction our country is going and how people feel about it, but it’s almost like he’s making unforced errors that are coming up at the expense of female votes on the Republican side,” she said.
Democrats this year want to repeat 2022 — when women came out to vote months after Roe was overturned to help give Democrats better-than-expected results.
“Trump already has come after women by overturning Roe, and he keeps bragging about it. It’s a pretty simple choice for anyone who cares about their basic rights: One of these candidates has already taken freedoms from women, and one is trying to restore them,” said Alexandra LaManna, a former Biden White House spokesperson focused on reproductive rights.
Women voters are also in the spotlight this week because of megastar Taylor Swift and chatter about whether she will wade into the 2024 election by endorsing Biden. Conservatives have launched conspiracy theories against her, while the Biden campaign reportedly is hoping for her endorsement, which could provide a major boost with women voters and young voters.
“It’s an unforced error,” Gitsham said of Republicans targeting Swift. “There’s no need to do that.”
Additionally, Trump has been in the spotlight in Carroll’s legal battles against him, which began in 2019 when she accused him of having sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. Carroll won tens of millions in damages last week.
“You’re seeing him more with the E. Jean Carroll case, with his response to Nikki Haley’s run in New Hampshire,” said Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “All of these things are sort of like, ‘Oh yeah, I remember that.’”
The Trump campaign expressed confidence over its chances against Biden, citing polls that show the president trailing Trump, when asked about appealing to women voters.
“There are more than 100 polls showing President Trump crushing Joe Biden, including recent polling that has him leading in every key battleground state and winning independents by double digits,” Trump spokesperson Karoline Leavitt told The Hill.
“Joe Biden no longer has a base as key Democrat constituencies such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans and women are supporting President Trump because they are sick and tired of Crooked Joe’s record-high inflation, open borders, crime and chaos,” she said.
While some experts caution there is plenty of room for change in the polls between now and November, they maintain that the findings in the Quinnipiac poll are not a major surprise in terms of gender splits between Republicans and Democrats.
“Everything we know about the way women vote and that they vote differently than men, I would anticipate that there will be a gender gap and that that gender gap will benefit the Democratic candidate,” Walsh said.
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