The 2024 Presidential campaign is still in the early stages. But the case for Democrats focusing strategy on winning suburban women keeps mounting, as Julia Manchester writes at The Hill:
Former President Trump increasingly looks like the favorite to win the GOP’s presidential nomination, but that strength masks what many Republicans see as a huge weakness against President Biden: Trump’s problems with suburban women.
All of Trump’s vulnerabilities with the key demographic were on high display during a rowdy town hall last week with CNN, where at one point the former president called moderator Kaitlan Collins a “nasty person.”
Trump also mocked a woman who won a civil lawsuit against him for sexual battery and defamation, and he dodged questions on abortion — a top issue that has increasingly been a strength for Democrats since the Supreme Court, which includes three justices who Trump nominated, overturned Roe v. Wade.
However, “The CNN town hall came just days after a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Trump leading Biden in a general election, sparking worry among Democrats,” Manchester notes. “According to the survey, Trump leads Biden by 7 points in a hypothetical matchup.” Manchester adds,
….Suburban women voters have also largely turned their backs on Republicans since the former president was elected in 2016. According to CBS News exit polling from 2018, 53 percent of suburban women voters said they voted for Democrats in 2018, up from 47 percent in 2014 and 51 percent in 2016. In 2020, Biden won 54 percent of suburban voters in general, according to the Pew Research Center. And in last year’s midterm elections, suburban voters, including women in this group, helped deliver major victories to Democrats in key states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia, with many of Trump’s endorsed candidates facing defeat.
“Many of those women the first time around they voted for him because he was a Republican, and we know that party is the best predictor of a vote,” Walsh said. “But the lived experience of Donald Trump turned them away from the Republican Party.”
“In the same way that he kept the Republican Party from winning big in the midterm elections this year, then he will make it difficult for the Republican Party in a general election,” she said.
On top of that, many have pointed to how the Supreme Court’s decision last year to overturn Roe v. Wade — the 1973 landmark ruling that federally legalized abortion — swayed women voters in the midterms. According to the Brookings Institution, 47 percent of female voters felt angry about the decision, and 83 percent of those women voted for a Democratic candidate.
Nonetheless, says Manchester, “It’s still unclear and too far out to know what role abortion access will play in 2024. It’s also unclear what role the economy will play in voters’ decision-making because it’s normally a top-of-mind issue. Republicans have continued to hit Biden on this as inflation continues and interest rates rise. The Washington-Post ABC News poll also shows Trump dominating Biden on handling the economy, with 54 percent of Americans saying Trump did a better job of handling the economy than Biden has done in his term so far. Only 36 percent said they preferred Biden’s handling.”
Manchester concludes, “I know Biden’s poll numbers are not great, but at the end of the day, when you’re really looking at whatever we watch in this campaign, if it is Donald Trump, it may not be a vote for Joe Biden, but a vote just to please make it stop with Donald Trump,” Walsh said.”
Manchester didn’t probe the political fallout from the epidemic of mass shootings this year. But suburban women have to be worried about the GOP’s foot-dragging on gun safety reforms, as well as the party’s dependence on NRA contributions.