The Corner


What’s Happening to the Gender Gap?

President Donald Trump waves to supporters after speaking at a campaign rally at The Villages, Fla., October 23, 2020. (Tom Brenner / Reuters)

In 2016, 52 percent of men and 41 percent of women voted for Donald Trump. Subtracting them yields one measure of the gender gap in voting: 11 percent. The comparable figure in 2012 was 9. There have been a lot of predictions that this year will see the gap get bigger still.

At first glance, though, lot of the polling is finding a smaller gender gap than the one that showed up in 2016. The Economist/YouGov poll has an 8-percent gap. IBD/TIPP has it at 6.2, Morning Consult at 4, Reuters/Ipsos at 6. On the bigger side are the gender gaps in the New York Times/Siena College poll (13) and the new CNN poll (13); in the middle is Echelon Insights at 9.

However! IBD/TIPP’s last poll in 2016 had a 6-point gender gap, Morning Consult’s was 3, CNN’s was 8, and The Economist/YouGov’s was 5. Comparing the same polls now to then suggests the gender gap is indeed bigger this year.

It is extremely likely that Biden will get more votes from women than Trump does: The last time a Republican presidential candidate won among women was 1988 (when George H. W. Bush still did seven points better among men). But it’s too early to judge whether the gap has widened over the course of this presidency, and if so by how much.

Another gap of note is the marriage gap, which has usually been wider than the gender gap. In 2016, Trump did 15 points better among married voters than among unmarried ones. But pollsters break down their findings based on marital status a lot less often than they break it down by sex, so it’s hard to track its size.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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