E.J. Graft writes this morning,
Republican women still overwhelmingly support the president—84 percent of them, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll this week. But that statistic overlooks a broader trend: Fewer and fewer American women identify as Republicans, and that slow migration is speeding up under Trump. …
The gender gap began with white men leaving the Democratic Party in the late 1950s and early 1960s in response to the civil rights and women’s movements, Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg explains. Only more recently did women start actively leaving the GOP. For two decades now, they have been leaking away from the Republican Party, very slowly becoming independents, while independents have been drifting toward the Democrats. In 1994, according to Pew, 42 percent of women identified as or leaned Republican, as did 52 percent of men. By 2017, only 37 percent of women and 48 percent of men still did. In 1994, 48 percent of women and 39 percent of men identified as or leaned toward the Democrats. By 2017, those numbers were 56 percent of women and 44 percent of men.
Trump’s election put this gender shift “on steroids,” Greenberg says. According to Pew, the share of American women voters who identify with or lean toward the Republican Party has dropped 3 percentage points since 2015—from 40 percent to 37 percent—after having been essentially unchanged from 2010 through 2014. By 2017, just 25 percent of American women fully identified as Republicans. That means that when, say, 84 percent of Republican women say they approve of Trump and his actions, or 69 percent of Republican women say they support Kavanaugh, or 64 percent say they, like Trump, don’t find Ford very “credible,” those percentages represent a small and shrinking slice of American women.
These shifts in party allegiance might seem mild, but they matter. As Rutgers political scientist Kelly Dittmar recently wrote, women have voted in higher numbers and at higher rates than men for decades. In 2016, according to Dittmar, 9.9 million more women than men voted, and about 63 percent of eligible females voted, compared with 59 percent of eligible males. If more women than men vote in November, women’s shift toward the Democrats is likely to be over-represented on Election Day—especially in an election like this one, in which women are highly mobilized and motivated. The Cook Political Report’s Amy Walters recently noted: “The most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal survey found that [white college-educated women] support a Democrat for Congress by 22 points—58 percent to 36 percent. In 2014, they preferred a Democratic Congress by just 2 points.”