On election night, when things looked down for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Cokie Roberts had a theory for why.
It was all about the sexism.
There probably is a strong sentiment about not having a woman president. Particularly among non-college-educated white men.
The sexism of the blue-collar men. The sexism of the white-collar men. The Archie Bunker types of the fruited plains.
Normally, this theory would be expected from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who blamed the loss of a Massachusetts Senate runoff in 2010 on sexism when Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s old seat amid massive voter interest in stopping Obamacare.
But Roberts made the charge on election night. And she blamed white, blue-collar men for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump surging.
“There probably is a strong sentiment about not having a woman president,” said Roberts, as Rust Belt states started to go red. “Particularly among non-college-educated white men.”
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Roberts’ voice was the most prominent of excuse-makers for Clinton, who lost to Trump in a stunning turn of events on Election Day. Others chimed in, and likely won’t stop until well into 2017.
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But an October scientific poll conducted nationally by Just Facts adds statistical doubt to these allegations. They also indicate gender was more important to Clinton supporters.
In the poll, when voters were asked if they support a male or female candidate when all other factors were equal, 69 percent of voters said, “It does not matter.”
Fifteen percent preferred a female, 12 percent preferred a male, 3 percent were unsure, and 1 percent refused to answer, according to Just Facts.
Looking at the split between Clinton and Trump supporters, the poll found male voters and Trump voters were more likely than any other groups to say, “It does not matter” — at 73 percent and 72 percent, respectively.
The other groups were not far behind and within the margin of error, with rates of 67 percent for Clinton voters, 66 percent for undecided voters, and 64 percent for females.
Additionally, among Clinton voters, 27 percent preferred a female and 5 percent preferred a male. Among Trump voters, 25 percent preferred a male and 2 percent preferred a female.
One thing helping Trump was likely the advice of Kellyanne Conway, his campaign manager and a pollster, who helped Trump win with white working-class women.