A plurality of voters say gender equality is worsening during the Trump presidency, according to a new poll released on Monday.
Marking Women’s Equality Day, a POLITICO/Morning Consult survey found that 38 percent of voters believe sexism has increased in the past 2½ years, while 29 percent said they saw no change. One-fifth of voters said gender equity has improved under President Donald Trump.
Story Continued Below
Trump’s presidency has been marked by gender-related controversies — ranging from the revelations of the #MeToo movement to the U.S. women’s soccer team’s public battle for pay equity to a spate of shootings highlighting a connection between hatred of women and mass murder. And Trump himself has faced significant criticism for his own treatment of women, from his language in the “Access Hollywood” tape to accusations from more than a dozen women alleging that Trump sexually assaulted them.
Young Democratic women are the most likely to say that gender equality has worsened.
The poll numbers highlight deep pessimism — and division — about how quickly the United States might reach gender equality. Nearly 40 percent of respondents said the country is either “not very close” or “not close at all” to reaching gender equality. But 41 percent also said the United States is “very close” or “somewhat close” to reaching gender equality.
A further 11 percent said there is already gender equality in the United States.
Among those surveyed, Republicans are significantly more likely to say the U.S. is close to gender equality. Nearly 50 percent said so, while 36 percent of Democrats surveyed said the country is close to gender equality. There was also a sharp break on gender lines, with 45 percent of men saying the country was close to parity, compared with 36 percent of women.
Participants also weighed in on which of the 2020 presidential candidates might be best qualified to address gender equality. Sen. Elizabeth Warren led the pack, drawing 11 percent support on the question. Former Vice President Joe Biden got 9 percent, Sen. Bernie Sanders got 8 percent and Sen. Kamala Harris got 7 percent.
But half of the respondents had no opinion or didn’t know which of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates might be able to best address gender equality.
Women are shattering political records in 2019. Seven women are running for president — an historic high. Campaigns are also more equitable, as women make up more than half of the senior staff positions on the top-polling presidential campaigns, according to a POLITICO analysis. Six of 22 Democratic contenders hired women to manage their campaign.
Overall, though, voters don’t rank gender equality issues high on their issue priority list. Just 3 percent of voters said they are most concerned with it.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted Aug. 9-11, surveying 1,993 registered voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.