Skip to navigationSkip to content

Forget Clinton’s “woman card”—Trump is getting more use out of his “man card”

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Trump leads Pennsylvanian men by 21 points over Hillary Clinton.
  • Jake Flanagin
By Jake Flanagin


Published This article is more than 2 years old.

A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University finds that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are running neck-and-neck in some key US battleground states.

In Florida and Pennsylvania, Clinton leads Trump 43% to 42%, while in Ohio, Trump leads the former secretary of state 43% to 39%.

The results are driven by wide racial and gender gaps among voters, with women and minorities overwhelmingly favoring Clinton, and white men favoring Trump by a comfortable margin.

During an April 26 press conference, Trump told reporters he could do better with women voters than Clinton. “The only card she has is the woman’s card,” he said. “She’s got nothing else to offer. And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5% of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card, and the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her.”

Trump is partly right. Some women don’t like Hillary Clinton. But way more women dislike Donald Trump. According to a survey conducted by Morning Consult in late April 2016, Clinton leads Trump among women voters by a 49% to 32% margin. And a recent Gallup poll found that seven in ten women have an unfavorable opinion of Trump.

But Clinton’s lead among women doesn’t mean the gender gap always works in her favor. In an interview with CNN, Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown said the “massive” gender gap actually benefits Trump.

“In Pennsylvania, Clinton’s 19-point lead among women matches Trump’s 21-point margin among men,” he added. “In Ohio, she is up 7 points among women but down 15 points with men. In Florida she is up 13 points among women but down 13 points among men.”

At a rally in Spokane, Washington, on Sunday (May 8), Trump criticized Clinton’s campaign ads as being “all woman-oriented.”

“You know she’s playing the women’s card,” he said, doubling down on the widely publicized earlier remarks, which inspired some rather literalist campaign swag over at the Clinton campaign HQ. “She’s going, ‘Did you know that Donald Trump raised his voice when speaking to a woman?’ Oh, I’m sorry.”

“I mean. All of the men, we’re petrified to speak to women anymore,” he continued. “We may raise our voice. You know what? The women get it better than we do folks. They get it better than we do. If she didn’t play that card, she has nothing.”

Speaking with NPR, political scientist Dan Cassino described the bizarre speech as “an appeal, saying basically to other men, ‘Hey, the women are ganging up on us, the women are using their gender to get power from us.’ That’s what the woman card is. ‘All the women are gonna get together and vote for Hillary Clinton, we have to band together as men to stop Hillary Clinton.’”

Cassino’s research into gender and politics has found that the mere thought of a female president could cost Clinton as much as 8% of the vote. In a study he conducted in association with Farleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll, a group of New Jersey voters were split into two groups—one where interviewees were initially posed a question that prompted thoughts about gender, and another where they were not. Clinton was favored by a margin of 19% by participants who were not asked to consider gender, but only 11% by those who were asked about it.

The study concluded that “male voters who were prompted to consider Clinton’s gender are 24% less likely to support her in a match-up against Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.”

“You see blue-collar voters—men—this is like their last vestige, their last hope is Donald Trump to get their masculinity back,” Fox News’ Andrea Tantaros observed.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.