The world is in shock. Donald Trump was hailed as the 45th President of the United States, while Hillary Clinton conceded defeat, though refusing to speak on election night. While there were many factors (including race, age, social conservatism and education) that decided the verdict, the gender gap that underscores the disparity in political preferences between men and women seems to have been underlined this time. Presidential Gender Watch describes the gender gap in voting as, “the difference between the proportions of women and men who support a given candidate, generally the leading or winning candidate. It is the gap between the genders, not within a gender.”
In these elections, Trump, who made his campaign unequivocally masculine, largely seemed to be a preferred choice among American men, while Clinton was favoured more by women. This dramatic gender divide affected the verdict today, giving Trump a landmark win.
Historically, women have been known to lean more towards the Democratic party. Republican candidate Mitt Romney trailed behind Democrat Barack Obama, where 55 per cent of women voted for Obama. At that time, 45 per cent of men had voted for Romney. And in 2000, Al Gore was preferred by women by 10 points, while men favoured Bush’s presidency by 11 points. The gap was a total of 21 points.
That pattern seems consistent even today. According to the exit polls, women favoured Clinton, while men favoured Trump. Before Trump won the elections, the Associated Press released an article that mentioned that “the gender gap for Clinton — the difference between the number of men who voted for her and the number of women who voted for her — hit 13 percentage points in preliminary results of exit polls.” Overall, there was a 25 percentage point gender gap as men tipped their hats towards Trump, giving him a lead of 12 percentage points.
Of late, Clinton had been able to accumulate a considerable backing from American women, even those who did not necessarily agree with her policies. When the tape featuring Trump boasting about being a sexual predator was unearthed, Clinton’s likability quotient among women went up a couple of notches.
However, within the realm of women voters itself there seemed to be a stark divide. When it came to juxtaposing the statistics between white college educated women who favoured Clinton with white non-college educated women, the differences were far greater.
Using the exit polls as source, FiveThrityEight reported, “College-educated white women voted for Clinton 51 pe rcent to 45 per cent, but non-college-educated white women voted for Trump 62 per cent to 34 per cent.” Those who didn’t hold a college degree seemed to back Trump by a whopping 28 percent.
These statistics are telling as they show that there are a considerable number of women who have willingly sidelined Trump’s deplorable misogynistic behaviour and his lewd remarks concerning women. One wouldn’t be surprised though – #Killary clans like Women for Trump (that has 53,000 followers) and Females For Trump (that has 80,000 followers) do exist, and when the Trump’s video footage leaked, it barely shook the foundation of these pro-Trump women networks.
When it comes to history, white working-class conservative women have been known to almost always favour Republicans. This group is largely dominated by white women who belong to economically underprivileged backgrounds. Bill Clinton was the only Democratic presidential candidate who made considerable inroads into this group and had them tilt in his favour in 1996.
Unlike her husband, however, Hillary Clinton didn’t manage to please this bracket. Nor did she manage to please America. After months of a rigorous and brutal race, the elections have finally come to an end. Even though the gender gap in these elections has been regarded as “massive” and “historic”, that still didn’t make the votes to swing in Clinton’s favour. And that, is unfortunate.