Sex and 2020

The latest CNN poll raises some questions about gender bias.

lego people crowd
Image CC0 Public Domain

Looking through the raw data in the latest CNN poll (conducted April 24-28), some things jump out at me.

First, all the Democrats with any support beat Donald Trump, most of them handily. All of them, that is, except Elizabeth Warren.

What’s interesting to me about these results is that all six Democratic contenders listed above are clustered between 47 and 52 percentage of the nominal vote. Warren’s numbers are on the low end of that—but then so is Pete Buttigieg. Yet, Trump’s “vote” percentage is higher against her than any of the others. (And Buttigieg beats him despite the highest “No opinion” ratings in the field.)

Naturally, one suspects a wee bit of misogyny at play here. After all, the two women and the gay guy get the lowest “vote” total.

Yet something else really odd is happening inside the numbers. Commentary‘s Noah Rothman observes,

“Harris performs the best of the field among men, tied for worst among women.”

That’s hard to see in the raw data because of how it’s separated out graphically. But Aron Goldman at Argo Journal pulls it out for us:

Among Men

  • Donald Trump 52% 
  • Beto O’Rourke 43%
  • Donald Trump 55%
  • Joe Biden 43%
  • Donald Trump 50% 
  • Bernie Sanders 44%
  • Donald Trump 49%
  • Kamala Harris 46%
  • Donald Trump 52% 
  • Pete Buttigieg 40%
  • Donald Trump 55%
  • Elizabeth Warren 41%

Among Women

  • Beto O’Rourke 61%
  • Donald Trump 32%
  • Joe Biden 61%
  • Donald Trump 35%
  • Bernie Sanders 55%
  • Donald Trump 39%
  • Kamala Harris 53%
  • Donald Trump 39%
  • Pete Buttigieg 55%
  • Donald Trump 35%
  • Elizabeth Warren 53%
  • Donald Trump 40%

The two women in the race have the lowest numbers among women. Yet one of those women has the highest numbers among men. Go figure.

Now, granted, this is one survey taken months before the first primary votes will take place. Still, it’s interesting.

Less interesting, in that it’s expected, but still worth noting: Trump is currently leading among men regardless of the Democrat he’s matched against and all of the Democrats easily defeat Trump with women. The gender gap is a chasm right now.

FILED UNDER: Bernie Sanders, Campaign 2018, Elizabeth Warren, Gender Issues, Joe Biden, Public Opinion Polls
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Men dislike Warren because they see her as the shrill, hectoring schoolmarm they had in elementary school. Image is everything.

  2. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Fair or not, the right wing echo chamber has tarred Warren nearly as effectively as they did Clinton (and are working on AOC). That noise makes it out to even non-hard core right leaning voters.

    I’m not usually much of a Bernie Sanders fan but the best thing he’s done is go on that Fox News townhall, and that did impress me. The caricatures they throw at everyone on the left fall apart when their viewers actually see extended interactions with Democrats, instead of curated sound bites from the outrage machine. I think all the candidates should be taking every opportunity they can get to appear on Fox and show they aren’t the America-hating child killing imbeciles they get portrayed as. Trump and modern Republican electoral strategy is nothing except trying to scare their voters about “the other”. Even making a tiny % of the target group aware that the caricatures and smears are not true can be huge in the final results.

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  3. PJ says:

    The two women in the race have the lowest numbers among women. Yet one of those women has the highest numbers among men. Go figure.

    Just going to point out that the margin of error, for a 95% confidence interval, for the first set of poll subsets are about 4.5 percentage points. And that for the even smaller subsets, the margin of error are about 6-7 percentage points depending on the share of women and men…

    So, a lot of the differences are within the margin of error.

  4. Hal_10000 says:

    Biden also has much higher numbers among minorities than the other candidates. Maybe … stay with me here … people are thinking about who’s going to be the best candidate rather than who ticks various demographic boxes.

  5. An Interested Party says:

    Fair or not, the right wing echo chamber has tarred Warren nearly as effectively as they did Clinton (and are working on AOC). That noise makes it out to even non-hard core right leaning voters.

    I wonder how that will work out when they start going after Harris in the same way…

  6. Teve says:

    Something else to look at

    Ryan Struyk
    @ryanstruyk

    @CNN
    2020 poll among whites without a college degree:

    Trump +13% over Biden
    Trump +15% over Buttigieg
    Trump +16% over O’Rourke
    Trump +17% over Sanders
    Trump +28% over Harris
    Trump +34% over Warren
    Trump +37% over Clinton ’16
    1:59 PM · May 2, 2019

    I am Teve’s complete lack of surprise.

  7. An Interested Party says:

    @Teve: Good grief! That poll is quite depressing…as if that jackass has done anything positive for people without a college degree…

  8. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: Let’s recall that during the 2008 Democratic primaries–and this looks incredibly ironic now–the overwhelming conventional wisdom was that Obama had a weakness connecting with white working-class voters, while Hillary was much stronger among that demographic. It was a narrative she herself embraced during “bitter-cling”-gate, and it was repeated by numerous pundits, who didn’t necessarily write off Obama’s chances of winning the election overall, but who took for granted that he would have to struggle with this group in a way Hillary wouldn’t. Here’s a typical example of this mindset:

    Mr Obama lost the Ohio primary to Mrs Clinton by eight percentage points principally because he failed to connect with white working class voters…. Resistance to Mr Obama in the rust belt states of Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania – which Mrs Clinton all won in the primaries – could hand the presidency to Mr McCain.

    And here’s another:

    For Obama, there was some disturbing news in the breakdown of the voting results. He had crossed over the demographic divide in industrial Wisconsin in February, winning older and blue-collar voters, white as well as black. But in Ohio the gap stubbornly returned: Hillary was the darling of older, white working-class voters…. Hillary Clinton believed that Obama’s problems with white working-class voters made him unelectable, and she could be blunt about it when she got on the phone with superdelegates who threatened to switch to Obama. “Bill, he can’t win!” she shouted on the phone to Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

    These are among the reasons why I’m skeptical of commentary on how well or poorly today’s candidates will fare among the WWC–especially given how Hillary went from being “the darling of older, white working-class voters” to the ultimate anathema to them. It’s striking how quickly conventional wisdom changes–and how quickly the old conventional wisdom gets forgotten.

  9. Gustopher says:

    The two women in the race have the lowest numbers among women. Yet one of those women has the highest numbers among men. Go figure.

    It’s possible that women, because they are more emotionally sensitive and perceptive than men, are able to pick up subtle signals that this country isn’t ready for a woman president — subtle signals like the fine folks who were saying things like “trump that bitch” back in 2016, and the rampant misogyny, and the way Christine Blakey Ford was treated not too long ago… It’s subtle, I know, but womenfolk are pretty perceptive.

    Maybe they don’t really want to live through that again so soon.

  10. Hal_10000 says:

    @Gustopher:

    I doubt that. I think it’s more that the three women in the race have little national presence and a total of 2, 6 and 12 years of experience in the Senate. Harris and Klobuchar are former prosecutors, which makes the base twitchy. If “America will never elect a woman” is the lesson you learned from 2016, you learned the wrong lesson.

    It’s always hard to keep in mind that most people are not political junkies. At this point in the race, name recognition is everything and that’s where Biden has the biggest advantage and these 1- or 2-term Senators have the smallest. Mayor Peter is something of an anomaly there, but I don’t expect him to get very far.

  11. James Joyner says:

    @Kylopod:

    These are among the reasons why I’m skeptical of commentary on how well or poorly today’s candidates will fare among the WWC–especially given how Hillary went from being “the darling of older, white working-class voters” to the ultimate anathema to them

    There are reasons for such skepticism but I don’t think this is one. That is, being more resonant than Barack Obama among blue-collar Dems doesn’t make her more resonant than Donald Trump with the larger electorate. Or even more than Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden—who I’m told woulda won.

  12. Kylopod says:

    @James Joyner:

    That is, being more resonant than Barack Obama among blue-collar Dems doesn’t make her more resonant than Donald Trump with the larger electorate.

    But that isn’t the argument people were making back then. They weren’t saying merely that she resonated better among this demographic than Obama, they were saying she resonated, period, and Obama didn’t. The language was absolute rather than relative. Again, to quote from that article: “Hillary was the darling of older, white working-class voters….” Which is pretty much the same thing being said about Joe Biden now.

  13. James Joyner says:

    @Kylopod: We’re kind of far afield from the post topic but read the quote in context:

    But Hillary did win Ohio and she did win Texas, though narrowly, and once more she had stepped back from the brink. For Obama, there was some disturbing news in the breakdown of the voting results. He had crossed over the demographic divide in industrial Wisconsin in February, winning older and blue-collar voters, white as well as black. But in Ohio the gap stubbornly returned: Hillary was the darling of older, white working-class voters. The Obama camp was beginning to suspect that the Clinton campaign, while assiduously avoiding any race baiting by the candidate or her senior staff or advisers, was perfectly content to let others do the dirty work, operating through surrogates and the bottom-feeding press. A picture of Obama in Somali garb was leaked to the Drudge Report. Clinton surrogate Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio (who was African-American) said that Obama shouldn’t be ashamed to be seen in his “native clothes.” In Youngstown, Ohio, the president of the International Machinists Union endorsed Clinton; its president, Tom Buffenbarger, took a swipe at Obama at a Hillary rally, shouting, “I’ve got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing trust-fund babies crowding in to hear him speak! He won’t stand a chance against the Republican attack machine!” Reporters noticed that in the bathroom there were copies of an infamous “Obama is a Muslim” e-mail printed out and strewn about.

    It’s clearly about the Democratic primary and the Clinton-Obama dynamic—not a prediction of how Clinton would fare against, say, John McCain.

  14. Gustopher says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I doubt that. I think it’s more that the three women in the race have little national presence and a total of 2, 6 and 12 years of experience in the Senate.

    And you think that women in the electorate are more sensitive to that than the men in the electorate? I think that would be a fine explanation why the woman candidates are doing poorly in general, but not why they would do worse among women voters.

    Also, according to this poll, women put Beto and Biden at the top. Biden is experienced, but all Beto has going for him is that he’s dreamy.

    There’s something more going on. Something about gender and how different genders view gender, or experienced 2016.