Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he speaks at campaign stop, Thursday, March 2, 2016, in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Donald Trump's objectively tacky decision to start maligning Ted Cruz's wife Heidi by insinuating that she has a closet full of skeletons or -- even more lamely -- that she's not as physically attractive as Trump's wife is not the sort of thing that will sink his candidacy. Because nothing will, it seems; we've learned that by now.

It does, however, highlight one of Trump's biggest problems: He is much more disliked by women than men, including Republican women.

NBC News's Carrie Dann noted findings from the network's recent polling with the Wall Street Journal. Forty percent of Republican men say they can't see themselves supporting Donald Trump's candidacy. But nearly half of GOP women -- 47 percent -- say the same thing.


That's a fairly subtle distinction, but it's borne out elsewhere, too. In CNN/ORC's polling since Trump became the party front-runner, women have consistently viewed Trump more negatively than men -- again, including Republican women.


In NBC's recent poll, he was viewed unfavorably by 70 percent of all women. In CNN/ORC's, the number was 73 percent.

"Favorable" is a fairly tame word, though. CNN also asked the question in a more emotional way. How would you feel if this candidate won the Republican nomination: Enthusiastic? Upset?

The responses among Republicans, by gender:


Nearly a third of Republican women say they would feel "upset" if Trump won the nomination. Forty-one percent say they'd feel "enthusiastic," yes, but that 31 percent who would feel upset is clearly out of line with the responses for other candidates.

Weirdly, though, this antipathy from women might not matter. Trump has crept to within shouting distance of the nomination by eking out wins in a splintered field. Lots of people don't like him, so that more of them are women doesn't make much difference. And in a general election, people tend to vote with their parties anyway. If Republican women decide to bail on Trump in November, the odds are good that lots of Republican men have made the same decision.

Which may be at the heart of the reason that Trump is indifferent about the repercussions of his current line of attack.