Jan 22, 2020

Exclusive poll: Women lock in on 2020

Democratic women are gearing up to become even more engaged around the 2020 election than they've been in recent years, according to a new survey by American University's Women & Politics Institute and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation provided exclusively to Axios.

Data: Benenson Strategy Group online poll of 800 likely 2020 presidential voters conducted December 5–12, 2019. Margin of error ±3.39 percentage points; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Why it matters: That's a warning sign for the GOP, which has been losing female voters to the Democratic Party at significant rates over the last few cycles.

By the numbers: 39% of Democratic likely women voters said they'd be more involved in this year's political issues or campaigns. That compares with just 23% of Republican women.

  • 4 in 10 millennial women and women of color said they planned to be more involved.
  • In the 2018 midterms, 59% of women overall voted for a Democratic House candidate — with those rates reaching 73% for Latinas and 92% for black women.
  • By a 2-to-1 margin, millennial women say they'll vote for a Democratic candidate over a Republican candidate in the 2020 presidential election, per a poll from TheSkimm.

The big picture: Pollsters have tracked a gender gap, in which larger shares of women than men have identified as Democrats, since the early 1980s. And more women than men have voted in every presidential election since 1980. But the 2016 elections sparked a new moment for women in politics, with more voting and running for office than in previous cycles.

  • 42% of all Democratic nominees for the House, Senate and governor in 2018 were women, compared to just 14% of Republican nominees.
  • The 11-point gender gap (the percentage of women and men who vote for a given candidate) between Hillary Clinton and Trump in 2016 was larger than any other year except for 1996 with Bill Clinton and Bob Dole.
  • The Women's March — which started in 2017 after President Trump's inauguration — is one of the clearest signs of women's increased political engagement in the Trump era.
  • Data shows women are getting more actively involved: 42% of women surveyed said they've "encouraged friends or family to vote or get involved in a campaign or issue" in the past few years.
  • So it's not just that women are feeling inspired to get political on their own; they're actively bringing others into the fold.

Trump's re-election efforts rely, in part, on trying to attract female voters with a message on the economy.

"With near record-low unemployment for women, paid family leave for federal workers, and a doubling of the child tax credit, women are winning across America and they will play a crucial role in ensuring that the success of the Trump Administration continues for four more years."
— Allie Carroll, assistant national press secretary for the Republican National Committee

One more thing: 15% of women surveyed said the top reason why they have not gotten involved in politics in the last few years is a feeling that they don't know enough about political issues to get involved. Only 5% of men said the same.

Methodology: The survey of likely 2020 presidential voters, including 600 women and 200 men, was conducted Dec. 5–12, 2019, and has a margin of error of ±3.39 percentage points. The survey was conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group for Gender on the Ballot, a joint project of American University's Women & Politics Institute and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation.

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