As more than a million people marched in U.S. cities for the second straight year in protests centered on the rights of women, The Washington Post and our partners at ABC News released a new poll.
In it, we found a wide gap between men and women on several central questions.
- Men were 15 points more likely to say they approved of President Trump’s job performance than were women — only 29 percent of whom offered their approval.
- Men were 14 points more likely to say that Trump had accomplished a great deal or good amount in office.
- Women were 12 points more likely to say that Trump’s actions as president had hurt their families.
Those differences, though, were not limited to views of Trump. In the generic ballot question — if the House elections were today, which party would you support? — female registered voters were 26 points more likely to say the Democrats than the Republicans. That’s a gap of 30 points between women and men, given that men were 4 points more likely to pick the Republicans.
Curious about how that margin compared to past polling, we pulled numbers from all of The Post’s generic-ballot polls since 1990. In every single poll save one, women preferred the Democrats. (In that other poll, women were split between the two parties.)
In only two polls were women more heavily supportive of Democratic candidates. Both of those polls were conducted about a year before the 2006 midterm elections — an election in which the Democrats ended up winning control of the chamber after picking up 31 seats.
Notice, though, that in that election and the one that followed — 2008, which was also a good year for the Democrats — men generally joined women in supporting the Democratic House candidates. In The Post’s two polls this past year, men were first split between the two parties (November) and then leaned slightly toward the Republicans.
Toward the tail end of 2006, the gap between men and women wasn’t actually that big, because both groups preferred the Democratic candidates.
The only two times there were gaps between the genders as wide as the current one occurred in 1994 and 1996. In both of those elections, women ended up preferring the Democrats, according to exit polls, but men preferred the Republicans. The 1996 election was basically a wash, with only a handful of seats changing hands. The 1994 election was a blowout, with Republicans seizing control of the House for the first time in decades. According to exit polls, men ended up preferring the Republicans in House races that year by 16 points.
The weekend’s protests show the sustained energy among women on the left to oppose the Trump administration. (Independent analysis found that nearly 80 percent of marchers interviewed had protested in last year’s marches, and 85 percent identified as Democrats.) The question is how that energy plays out in November. Will the election shape up like 2006, with a flood of support for Democrats shifting the chamber to the party? Or will it be more like 1994, when the enthusiasm from women is offset by enthusiasm in the other direction from men?