A new poll finds that Democrats enjoy a significant advantage going into next year’s midterm elections
The future is female and that’s bad news for this version of the Republican Party.
That’s according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, which reveals a powerful Democratic advantage among female voters as America is about to enter an election year. The survey of 900 adults found that women favor Democratic control of Congress by 20 points, a significant shift from 2010’s midterm elections, when a slim majority of females preferred the GOP and delivered what then-President Barack Obama called a “shellacking” against his party.
The Democrats’ edge is especially pronounced when it comes to college-educated women, who prefer the party of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi by a whooping 32 points. That’s more than triple the 10 points advantage among the group Democrats went into 2010 with. By contrast, 44% of men without college degrees back the GOP; almost the same number support Democrats. Overall, the WSJ/NBC poll found that Democrats enjoy an 11-point lead over the party of Donald Trump when it comes to control of the Senate and House of Representatives.
What explains this growing gap? Women are not a monolithic group, but pollsters attribute the Democrats’ advantage to President Trump’s poor ratings among women and controversial support by elements of his party’s leadership for the failed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who was accused of sexual relationships with teenage girls. Couple that with longstanding Republican weaknesses among educated females, the historic probability of the President’s party losing seats in a midterm election, and an unprecedented level of recent activism among women and the gap makes sense.
In an ordinary congressional election, the Democratic advantage among women with at least a bachelor’s degree would be eroded by their heavy concentration in urban and exurban areas, where liberals pile up the popular vote but only gain a small number of seats. But the WSJ/NBC poll found that college-educated women make up a sizable part of the electorate in 39 of the roughly 60 competitive races for next year’s midterms, which give them more influence than usual.
While the GOP has long acknowledged that it needs to do better among females and college-educated voters, the party’s leadership is banking on low unemployment and economic growth that they say will be strengthened by the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to woo voters.
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