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Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson May 2, 2016

Donald Trump wrong that Hillary Clinton 'doesn’t do very well with women'

During a May 2 interview on CNN’s New Day, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump doubled down on his charge that his potential Democratic rival in November, Hillary Clinton, is playing the "woman card."

"She's playing the woman card," Trump told host Chris Cuomo. "And if she didn't play the woman card, she would have no chance whatsoever of winning."

Trump went on to say that Clinton’s standing among female voters in particular is nothing to write home about.

"Frankly, (Hillary Clinton) doesn’t do very well with women," Trump said. "If you look at what happened recently, … in the last two weeks, including New York. I won with women by vast, vast majorities. I was way, way up with women far above anybody else in the exit polls of the recent election."

Clinton may have gleefully embraced Trump’s "woman card" attack line, but we thought it’s still worth checking whether Trump is right that Clinton "doesn’t do very well with women."

Trump, as it turns out, couldn’t be more wrong.

The recent primaries

Let’s give Trump his due: He has a right to be braggadocious about his own record with women voters in recent GOP primaries.

Trump unquestionably routed his opponents among female voters during the four recent primaries for which exit polls exist. He won 57 percent of women in the New York primary, 55 percent of women in the Connecticut primary, 50 percent of women in the Maryland primary, and 54 percent of women in the Pennsylvania primary.

That said, even among women voting in these GOP primaries, Trump experiences a gender gap: According to these exit polls, women -- by a modest but consistent margin -- supported Trump by smaller margins than men did. In New York, he was six points stronger among men. In Connecticut that gap was five points, in Maryland it was nine points, and in Pennsylvania it was seven points.

And there’s an even more important problem for Trump’s claim: His own success among Republican women doesn’t have anything to say about how well or poorly Clinton is doing with women.

Polling a Clinton vs. Trump matchup

We found seven April polls at that asked respondents about how they would vote if Clinton faced off against Trump in November. Here’s a rundown:


Clinton share of female vote

Trump share of female vote

Lead among women




Clinton +15




Clinton +6

USA Today/Suffolk



Clinton +21




Clinton +19




Clinton +23

Fox News



Clinton +22

CBS News



Clinton +27



Featured Fact-check


Clinton +19


Clearly, this doesn’t support Trump’s assertion that Clinton "doesn’t do very well with women."

We are still a long way from Election Day, of course, but if this pattern holds, it would represent a gender gap of historic proportions. Here’s how women have split their vote in presidential elections going back to 1980, as collected by Rutgers University's Center for the American Woman and Politics:


Democratic candidate’s share of female vote

Republican candidate’s share of female vote

Independent candidate’s share of female vote

Major party faring better among women


Obama 55

Romney 44


Dem +11


Obama 56

McCain 43


Dem +13


Kerry 51

Bush 48


Dem +3


Gore 54

Bush 43

Nader 2

Dem +11


Clinton 54

Dole 38

Perot 7

Dem +16


Clinton 45

Bush 37

Perot 17

Dem +8


Dukakis 49

Bush 50


GOP +1


Mondale 44

Reagan 56


GOP +12


Carter 45

Reagan 46

Anderson 7

GOP +1


So, Clinton’s 19-point average lead over Trump among women -- if it held all the way to November -- would give her the biggest winning margin among women of any presidential candidate since at least 1980.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Clinton is not universally beloved by women -- but her ratings are a whole lot better than Trump’s. In April’s GWU/Battleground poll, for instance, Clinton scored a 51 percent favorable rating among women, with 47 percent unfavorable. By contrast, Trump’s rating among women in the same poll was 26 percent favorable, 71 percent unfavorable.

The flip side is that Clinton does under-perform among men; the GWU/Battleground poll found that views of Clinton among men are 33 percent favorable, 66 percent unfavorable. Karlyn Bowman, a poll analyst for the American Enterprise Institute, considers this "a big problem for her."

But the silver lining, she added, is that "if past elections are a guide, more women will vote than men – probably about 53 to 54 percent."

Our ruling

Trump said, "Frankly, (Hillary Clinton) doesn’t do very well with women."

The evidence he used to support this claim during the CNN interview -- his large margins among women in recent GOP primaries -- is undeniable, but says nothing about how well Clinton does among women. In fact, looking at a cross-section of April polls, Clinton’s average lead over Trump among female voters is bigger than any nominee has registered in an actual presidential election election in at least 36 years. We rate Trump’s statement Pants on Fire.

Our Sources

Donald Trump, interview with CNN’s New Day, May 2, 2016

CNN, 2016 exit poll index, accessed May 2, 2016

CNN, 2016 primary and caucus results, accessed May 2, 2016

United States Elections Project, "2016 Presidential Nomination Contest Turnout Rates," accessed April 18, 2016, General Election Polls: Trump vs. Clinton, accessed May 2, 2016

IBD/TIPP poll, April 2016

Rasmussen, April 2016

USA Today/Suffolk poll, April 2016

GWU/Battleground poll, April 2016

NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, April 2016

Fox News poll, April 2016

CBS News poll, April 2016

Rutgers University's Center for the American Woman and Politics, presidential gender gap fact sheet, accessed May 2, 2016

Politico, "Donald Trump's rock-bottom ratings with women," March 31, 2016

Gallup, "Seven in 10 Women Have Unfavorable Opinion of Trump," April 1, 2016

Email interview with Alan Abramowitz, Emory University political scientist, May 2, 2016

Email interview with Karlyn Bowman, polling analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, May 2, 2016

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Donald Trump wrong that Hillary Clinton 'doesn’t do very well with women'

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