Hillary Clinton has a shot at becoming the first female president of the United States, but that isn’t enough to drum up excitement from women about her candidacy. In 2012, women made up 53 percent of the vote — a majority of the electorate — but will they turn out in the same way in 2016, despite a lack of interest?
A new Gallup survey has found that just 30 percent of Democratic women are paying attention to the presidential race, a shocking statistic. Women are supposed to be the core base of Clinton’s supporters, but she just hasn’t been able to cultivate enthusiasm among them for her campaign.
What’s more, she’s even had progressive feminist groups such as Emily’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Planned Parenthood publicly endorse her. The networks of those groups alone haven’t been able to help generate interest in the race — a race they believe jeopardizes women’s health and rights if Clinton doesn’t assume the presidency.
Among both political parties, only 30 percent of women are paying close attention to the presidential race compared to 44 percent of men — showing a gender gap. However, maybe it’s because of the female candidate who remains in the race.
National polling from McLaughlin & Associates shows that 58 percent of women view Clinton unfavorably which could contribute to a general lack of interest in the election. The only candidate with worse unfavorable ratings among women is GOP front-runner Donald Trump with 68 percent. However, among liberal women her unfavorables drop to just 30 percent — still high for a candidate who could potentially be the first female president of the United States.
[lz_bulleted_list title=”Hillary Clinton’s Unfavorables Among Women” source=”McLaughlin & Associates”]58 percent of women view Clinton unfavorably.|Among liberal women 30 percent find Clinton unfavorable.|59 percent of working women have an unfavorable view of Clinton.|White and Hispanic women view Clinton unfavorably with 65 to 56 percent respectively.|Among women under the age of 55 she holds a 58 percent unfavorable rating.[/lz_bulleted_list]
When broken down further, Clinton’s negatives among female voters are vast. Among working women — a target of Clinton’s campaign — 59 percent find her unfavorable. Among white and Hispanic women the numbers are just as bad, with 65 percent unfavorable to 56 percent. The real kicker is that she has a 58 percent unfavorable rating among women younger than 55, a demographic she is supposed to have a monopoly on.
Tuesday on “Fox and Friends,” Trump accused Clinton of playing the “woman card.” “I call her ‘Crooked Hillary’ because she’s crooked, and the only thing she’s got is the woman card,” Trump said. “That’s all she’s got … it’s a weak card in her hands.”
While 80 percent of Americans say the United States is ready to elect a female president, they don’t feel the overwhelming urgency to have one. In the very first Democratic debate of the season, when asked why a political insider like herself should be elected, Clinton pivoted to the gender card. “Well, I can’t think of anything more outsider than electing the first woman president.” This strategy has been widely criticized on both sides of the aisle.
“I would say that feminism has evolved since Clinton was coming up the ranks and she has to adapt to a newer feminism that is about equality more generally in order to woo new female voters, especially younger women,” said Democratic strategist Jessica Tarlov.
Clinton has made sure to blast Trump for his high unfavorable rating among women in an effort to take the spotlight off of herself — hoping to win over the demographic come November. However, Trump is more moderate on women’s issues than his GOP rivals — something he has come under fire for from conservatives but could be damaging to Clinton in the general election. If Clinton wants to be competitive against Trump, she would need to throw out the gender card and play a new “trump” card, if you will, instead.
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If Clinton was banking on the gender card to get her elected, she needs to seriously rethink her strategy or she won’t have the chance to shatter the glass ceiling at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.