The 2020 presidential election will likely be decided by women voters who appear set to oppose Donald Trump by the highest margin in history, according to an analysis of current polls by CNN expert polling analyst Harry Enten. In fact, the current gender gap separating Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden from Trump stands at 34 points — nine points wider than the 25-point gender gap in the 2016 election.
The 2016 gender gap was itself a record.
According to CNN polling cited by Enten, Biden currently leads Trump among women voters, 60 percent to 36, a lead of 24 points. But among men, Trump holds a 10-point lead, 52-42. Combining the two results produces a gender gap of 34 points. Prior to 2016, no presidential election dating back to 1952 had seen a gender gap of more than 20 points.
In fact, according to Enten, from 1952 to 1980 presidential elections showed no significant gender gap at all. Since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, however, gender gaps have been widening. “So this isn’t just about Trump,” Enten wrote.
But women’s opposition to Trump has accelerated the growth of the electoral gender gap. The 2018 midterm elections saw a 23-point gender gap in favor of Democratic candidates, the largest ever seen in a midterm vote, according to the CNN analysis.
While Biden boasts the largest gender gap when opposed one-on-one with Trump of any of the Democratic candidates, all of the current leading Democrats are favored by women voters by a gap of at least 25 points, according to Enten.
Biden also holds the largest lead over Trump in overall general election polling. As recently as December 15, a Fox News poll showed Biden with a seven-point lead over Trump among all voters. In an average of all polls, Biden continues to lead Trump by a wider margin than any other Democratic contender.
Trump’s problems with women appear to be largely of his own making, going back to the 2016 campaign when an audio recording of Trump speaking behind the scenes at the entertainment news show Access Hollywood captured the then-reality TV star boasting that because he was “a star,” women let him “grab them by the p***y.” Trump has continued to use demeaning language to refer to women throughout his term in the White House, a BBC report documented.
Trump’s policies, critics say, have frequently caused harm to women. As compiled by the Center for American Progress, Trump administration policies have made it easier for employers to discriminate against women in the workplace, rolled back protections for women’s reproductive rights, cut programs designed to reduce domestic violence, and hired three men for every woman when filling administration jobs.