A Washington Post-ABC News poll, taken just before public hearings began, found that 56 percent of women supported impeachment and removing Trump from office, while just 4o percent of women want the president to stay in office. By contrast, 54 percent of men oppose impeachment, the poll showed.
The gender gap, as it is known, has been studied for decades, and each side has usually tried to mitigate its weakness in the run-up to elections. GOP strategists frequently try to make their candidates appeal a bit more to women, while Democrats search for better inroads to male voters.
But the Trump era has made it an entrenched fact of life with bigger disparities than previous presidencies, and that is playing out in the contours of the impeachment battle: The Democratic-led House will vote to impeach Trump, while the Republican-led Senate will vote to acquit.
Just look at the 2018 midterm elections, when 59 percent of women voted for the Democratic congressional candidate, and 51 percent of men voted for the Republican candidate.
“The gender gap in voting preference is not new, but it is at least as wide as at any point over the past two decades,” a Pew Research Center analyst wrote after the midterms.
In the spring of 2018, 56 percent of women had identified as Democrats or voters who leaned Democratic, one of the highest levels of female support for Democrats since 1992, according to Pew. Just 37 percent of women said they were Republican or leaned toward the GOP.
Two polls taken after public testimony at the House Intelligence Committee concluded showed little change in the overall national views toward impeaching Trump, but they suggested that the political version of men from Mars and women from Venus had continued to cement itself in the public mind-set.
A CNN poll released this week showed 61 percent of female voters supporting Trump’s removal from office, while only 40 percent of men supported that constitutional option of evicting the president.
A Quinnipiac University poll, also released this week, put the number at 53 percent for women supporting impeachment and removal from office, while 40 percent of women oppose such a step. This survey found even greater support for the president among men, with just 36 percent supporting his impeachment, while 58 percent want Trump to remain president.
Moreover, Trump’s biggest base of support — white men — continue to be largely behind his presidency. Just 29 percent of white men want to see the president impeached and convicted by the Senate, while 65 percent oppose impeachment and want him to stay in office, according to Quinnipiac.
That poll also found a fairly unsurprising point: Women’s views toward Trump are more rock solid, one way or the other, than men’s. While almost 20 percent of men said their views on impeachment could change, just 9 percent of women would consider changing their minds on the issue.
This is a key part of the struggle Republicans and Democrats face as impeachment moves forward, with the political motivations foremost in their thinking of how to present their case to voters and how to put the other side in the worse position.
In their public hearings before the intelligence panel, Democrats called a quartet of powerful women who have served for decades in the State and Defense departments, presenting compelling testimony that Trump ordered his male subordinates to turn U.S. foreign policy into a political weapon back home for the 2020 elections.
Democrats also brought forward a few male witnesses who might have been able to shift men’s views toward Trump, including Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who wore his military uniform to the witness table, as is custom, and William B. Taylor Jr., the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, with a swashbuckling voice and decades in the Foreign Service.
Those hearings did not change many minds, however — CNN’s poll placed overall support for impeachment and removal from office at 50 percent, with 43 percent opposed, exactly the same tally as the poll found in late October. The Quinnipiac poll found no statistically significant movement among all voters on the question, split about evenly.
If they are going to change the political landscape, Trump and his Republican defenders need to figure out a way to appeal to more women in these next few weeks, before the full House votes on articles of impeachment, or else most Democrats will not feel much pressure in casting votes against Trump.
Conversely, Democrats need to find ways to make male voters believe Trump has committed some high crimes and misdemeanors, or else most Senate Republicans will not feel much pressure in voting to acquit the president in a trial, likely to begin in January.
Polling has changed on the issue from the spring and summer but has plateaued in the past few weeks.
In a Post-ABC poll released in early July, just 37 percent of all Americans supported starting an impeachment inquiry, which at the time would have focused on the special-counsel investigation into Russian interference designed to help Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Only 32 percent of men and 41 percent of women supported impeachment at that time, but then came the Ukraine news in mid-September, and views shifted, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) publicly backed the inquiry.
The poll a few weeks ago showed overall support for impeachment and removal at 49 percent, bolstered by that growth in women wanting Trump out of office, up 15 percentage points.
Now, however, with men and women’s views separately hardening toward impeachment, the likely outcome becomes increasingly clear.
“The numbers still don’t look good for Trump, but they definitely haven’t gotten worse,” Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy wrote.
Emily Guskin contributed to this report.