To promote the interview, Kelly appeared on "Good Morning America" on Monday, talking to host George Stephanopoulos about Trump's candidacy. Stephanopoulos started by asking Kelly about how Trump's refusal to release his taxes and his unpopularity with women might affect his candidacy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I was watching Reince Priebus yesterday on "This Week" and other shows saying, "Listen, he's got to answer some of these questions but it's not going to matter because he's a different type of candidate." Is that what you're sensing from your viewers?KELLY: I don't know about that. I think that Republican women have warmed a little to Trump, although his unfavorables even with Republican women are still high, unusually high. And, you know, Romney lost to Obama by 11 points with women, so the Republican candidate is going to need to do better than Mitt Romney did -- although Trump is doing very well with white men, so query whether he could make up the difference.
There are two parts of that response that are worth picking out.
The first is the claim that Republican women have "warmed a little" to Trump. One of the main reasons that Trump's unfavorability ratings are higher than Hillary Clinton's is that Republicans are less enthusiastic about his candidacy than Democrats are of hers. If Republicans liked him as much as Clinton's party liked her, their favorability ratings would be about the same.
But that's a big if. And part of the reason that Trump's unfavorable ratings with Republicans are so high is that Republican women are much more skeptical of him than are Republican men. In fact, Republican women's views of Trump are closer to independent men than Republican ones.
In Washington Post/ABC News polling, Trump's unfavorability with Republican women did dip between March and April -- but that figure is still much higher than it was for most of the second half of 2015.
The drop in the number of Republican women who view Trump strongly unfavorably dropped even more.
That probably counts as "warming a little."
But the second half of Kelly's point is a bigger issue. As we noted at the end of April, Trump is doing far worse with white women right now than has any Republican in exit polling stretching back to 1972.
The margins among white men have been much starker. The last time white men voted for the Democratic candidate at about the same rate as they did the Republican was 1992, when Ross Perot split the vote three ways.
In the last four elections, white men have preferred the Republican candidate by 23 points. If Trump sees his performance drop with women, can he squeeze more out of that margin with white men to make up for it?
As a point of comparison: Black men voted for the Democrats by a 73-point margin in 2000 and 73 points in 2004. In 2008, with Barack Obama on the ballot, the margin was 90 points. White men are a much larger part of the electorate, so Trump doesn't need as big a gain with that group, but he, too, would need to over-perform with that base -- even as non-white voters are more likely to vote against him.
Kelly's answer was a very good articulation of Trump's problem but one that also allowed her to keep from disturbing the hornet's nest before tomorrow night's interview. Part of the reason Trump is doing the interview, of course, is to show that he doesn't have an issue with women. If he can maintain his detente with Kelly, he's only got that one long-term feud with a woman left: the one that will be decided in November.