The president has a problem and her name is Woman. Polls show a majority of young women view Donald Trump unfavorably ahead of the year’s midterm elections. But will that dislike translate into key victories for Democrats?
The images of last year’s Women’s March are hard to forget. More than 2 million people — many of them women — are believed to have gathered for Women’s Marches in cities across the world the day after Trump was sworn in as president. Since then, Trump appears to have had little success in winning women over. In fact, according to Five Thirty Eight, women consistently view Trump in a more negative light than men. But while a number of women in all age groups have voiced frustration with the president, it’s young women who appear to have an especially critical opinion of Trump.
According to Five Thirty Eight, a PRRI survey conducted earlier this year found that while 54 percent of all Americans surveyed reported having either a “very unfavorable” or a “mostly unfavorable” view of the president, women aged 18 to 34 were even more displeased. A whopping 76 percent of women in that age group reported having a “very unfavorable” or a “mostly unfavorable” view of Trump.
But according to the PRRI survey, women aged 65 and older didn’t have quite the same opinion. While 47 percent of women in that age group reported having either a “very unfavorable” or a “mostly unfavorable” opinion of President Trump, 50 percent said they viewed him in a “very favorable” or “mostly favorable” light. Only 22 percent of women aged 18 to 34 had reported having a favorable opinion of Trump.
The PRRI survey found a similar age gap among men, although it was less pronounced. Among men aged 18 to 34, 52 percent had a “very unfavorable” or a “mostly unfavorable” opinion of Trump compared to 42 percent of men aged 65 and older. As was seen in women of the same age group, the majority of men aged 65 and older — 56 percent — reported having favorable views of Trump.
But this isn’t the first time pollsters found that women held more critical views of Trump. In fact, there’s been a noticeable gender gap in Trump’s approval rating since before he was even elected president. In March 2016, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that half of women had a “very unfavorable” view of then-candidate Trump compared to 36 percent of men. A Gallup poll published around the same time found 70 percent of women held “unfavorable” opinions of Trump. That poll also noted that Trump’s approval ratings showed a gender gap wider than any other major presidential candidate was experiencing.
Although Trump’s history of sexist comments about women — see his Access Hollywood tape — has certainly not helped him garner points with women, polls show his administration’s policies are a driving force behind women’s approval ratings. According to a CBS News poll first put out in January, 63 percent of women surveyed “disapproved” of the job Trump was doing as president and 50 percent felt his policies “mostly hurt” women.
But according to Five Thirty Eight’s recent analysis of that CBS poll, younger women were more inclined to feel that Trump’s policies hurt women. Five Thirty Eight reported that 59 percent of women aged 18 to 44 felt Trump’s policies were harmful but noted that view “was much less common among older women.”
But will young women’s disapproval of President Trump impact upcoming midterm elections? There’s reason to believe that young women could have serious influence at the ballot box come November. A PRRI poll conducted in January found young women are now more politically and civically engaged than young men, with more of them reporting to have engaged in activities like volunteering, donating, or signing petitions. Women are also running for office in greater numbers than ever before, which could translate to key gains against Trump as studies show women tend to identify as Democrat.