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SOMETHING BERNING?

Are women voters losing their zeal for Hillary Clinton?

AP Photo/John Minchillo
Ladies? LADIES?
By Hanna Kozlowska
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Until recently it seemed like Hillary Clinton had learned a lesson from the 2008 presidential campaign—she hasn’t shied away from women’s issues and is explicitly embracing the historical importance of potentially becoming the first woman president of the United States.

Her strong support from female voters certainly held true in Iowa, where she won the women’s vote by an 11 point margin en route to a razor thin victory. But latest polling shows that support may be wobbling a bit, as she trails Bernie Sanders by eight points among women in New Hampshire, before the state’s primary vote on Feb. 9.

Nationally, Clinton is still beating the Vermont senator among women, with 48% to Sanders’ 38% according to a Feb. 5 poll from Quinnipiac University. However, according to polls from Monmouth University, Clinton’s national support among women dropped by 10 percentage points from December 2015 to January 2016, from 64% to 54%.

Clinton and her campaign focused on reviving the lackluster support among women this weekend, with the candidate appearing alongside prominent female politicians, including lawmakers from the “sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits” and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright.

Albright proved to be more problematic than helpful, though. Along with feminist icon Gloria Steinem, she criticized young women for picking Sanders over Clinton. “We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done,” Albright said. “It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” she added emphatically, repeating a well-known chorus of hers.

Clinton first laughed with her fellow former secretary of state, but then had to defend her after the comments drew criticism. The 81-year-old Steinem also angered voters after she told late-night show host Bill Maher that young women were flocking to Sanders because of his strong standing among young men.  “When you’re young, you’re thinking: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,’” she said. She later apologized for her comments on her Facebook page, saying that she “misspoke” in “a case of talk-show Interruptus.” She apologized “for what’s been misinterpreted as implying young women aren’t serious in their politics.”

Clinton is struggling with young women in particular. Sanders won the youth vote in Iowa with a stunning 84%, and polling in New Hampshire indicates that 64% of women under 45 are “feeling the Bern.”

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