When Donald Trump this week publicly disparaged his former aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman as a “dog,” he crystallized again the belligerent style and volatile behavior that has exposed Republican candidates in November to the risk of a crushing backlash among women. The most important unanswered question for the midterm election may be how far that backlash extends among the women whose preponderant support keyed his victory in the first place.
Trump’s tempestuous presidency has widened every divide in American politics: race, religion, generation, geography, gender, and education. All of these contrasts loom large over the November elections. Democrats see their best House opportunities in white-collar suburban communities around the major metropolitan areas, which are typically younger and more racially and religiously diverse. Republicans hope to build a firewall in districts well beyond the urban centers that are predominantly white, older, more blue-collar, and more uniformly Christian in religious preference.
Gender is a big wild card on that playing field. Women and men have diverged in their reactions to Trump across virtually all of those other categories, like education and race. Over the past month in Gallup’s daily tracking poll, Trump drew much higher approval ratings from men than women. That was true among whites with a college degree, whites without a college degree, Hispanics, African Americans, and members of other racial groups, according to figures Gallup provided to The Atlantic. In this week’s national Quinnipiac University poll, college-educated and non–college-educated white men, as well as minority men, were considerably more likely than women in the same groups to say they like Trump’s policies. Likewise, in an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist University poll last month, men in all three categories were much more likely than women to say they were proud of Trump’s behavior as president; women were more likely than men to say they were embarrassed.