Pants on Fire!
Trump
"Frankly, (Hillary Clinton) doesn’t do very well with women."

Donald Trump on Monday, May 2nd, 2016 in an interview on CNN's "New Day"

Donald Trump wrong that Hillary Clinton 'doesn’t do very well with women'

Donald Trump has criticized Hillary Clinton for playing the "woman card," but Clinton has embraced the attack.
CNN host Chris Cuomo interviewed Donald Trump about his comments about Hillary Clinton and the "woman card" on "New Day" on May 2, 2016.

During a May 2 interview on CNN’s New Day, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump doubled down on his charge that his potential Democratic rival in November, Hillary Clinton, is playing the "woman card."

"She's playing the woman card," Trump told host Chris Cuomo. "And if she didn't play the woman card, she would have no chance whatsoever of winning."

Trump went on to say that Clinton’s standing among female voters in particular is nothing to write home about.

"Frankly, (Hillary Clinton) doesn’t do very well with women," Trump said. "If you look at what happened recently, … in the last two weeks, including New York. I won with women by vast, vast majorities. I was way, way up with women far above anybody else in the exit polls of the recent election."

Clinton may have gleefully embraced Trump’s "woman card" attack line, but we thought it’s still worth checking whether Trump is right that Clinton "doesn’t do very well with women."

Trump, as it turns out, couldn’t be more wrong.

The recent primaries

Let’s give Trump his due: He has a right to be braggadocious about his own record with women voters in recent GOP primaries.

Trump unquestionably routed his opponents among female voters during the four recent primaries for which exit polls exist. He won 57 percent of women in the New York primary, 55 percent of women in the Connecticut primary, 50 percent of women in the Maryland primary, and 54 percent of women in the Pennsylvania primary.

That said, even among women voting in these GOP primaries, Trump experiences a gender gap: According to these exit polls, women -- by a modest but consistent margin -- supported Trump by smaller margins than men did. In New York, he was six points stronger among men. In Connecticut that gap was five points, in Maryland it was nine points, and in Pennsylvania it was seven points.

And there’s an even more important problem for Trump’s claim: His own success among Republican women doesn’t have anything to say about how well or poorly Clinton is doing with women.

Polling a Clinton vs. Trump matchup

We found seven April polls at realclearpolitics.com that asked respondents about how they would vote if Clinton faced off against Trump in November. Here’s a rundown:

Poll

Clinton share of female vote

Trump share of female vote

Lead among women

IBD/TIPP

51

36

Clinton +15

Rasmussen

41

35

Clinton +6

USA Today/Suffolk

55

34

Clinton +21

GWU/Battleground

54

35

Clinton +19

NBC News/WSJ

56

33

Clinton +23

Fox News

55

33

Clinton +22

CBS News

58

31

Clinton +27

Average

53

34

Clinton +19

 

Clearly, this doesn’t support Trump’s assertion that Clinton "doesn’t do very well with women."

We are still a long way from Election Day, of course, but if this pattern holds, it would represent a gender gap of historic proportions. Here’s how women have split their vote in presidential elections going back to 1980, as collected by Rutgers University's Center for the American Woman and Politics:

Year

Democratic candidate’s share of female vote

Republican candidate’s share of female vote

Independent candidate’s share of female vote

Major party faring better among women

2012

Obama 55

Romney 44

 

Dem +11

2008

Obama 56

McCain 43

 

Dem +13

2004

Kerry 51

Bush 48

 

Dem +3

2000

Gore 54

Bush 43

Nader 2

Dem +11

1996

Clinton 54

Dole 38

Perot 7

Dem +16

1992

Clinton 45

Bush 37

Perot 17

Dem +8

1988

Dukakis 49

Bush 50

 

GOP +1

1984

Mondale 44

Reagan 56

 

GOP +12

1980

Carter 45

Reagan 46

Anderson 7

GOP +1

 

So, Clinton’s 19-point average lead over Trump among women -- if it held all the way to November -- would give her the biggest winning margin among women of any presidential candidate since at least 1980.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Clinton is not universally beloved by women -- but her ratings are a whole lot better than Trump’s. In April’s GWU/Battleground poll, for instance, Clinton scored a 51 percent favorable rating among women, with 47 percent unfavorable. By contrast, Trump’s rating among women in the same poll was 26 percent favorable, 71 percent unfavorable.

The flip side is that Clinton does under-perform among men; the GWU/Battleground poll found that views of Clinton among men are 33 percent favorable, 66 percent unfavorable. Karlyn Bowman, a poll analyst for the American Enterprise Institute, considers this "a big problem for her."

But the silver lining, she added, is that "if past elections are a guide, more women will vote than men – probably about 53 to 54 percent."

Our ruling

Trump said, "Frankly, (Hillary Clinton) doesn’t do very well with women."

The evidence he used to support this claim during the CNN interview -- his large margins among women in recent GOP primaries -- is undeniable, but says nothing about how well Clinton does among women. In fact, looking at a cross-section of April polls, Clinton’s average lead over Trump among female voters is bigger than any nominee has registered in an actual presidential election election in at least 36 years. We rate Trump’s statement Pants on Fire.

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