Donald Trump Is Failing to Capture the Votes of College-Educated GOP Women

October 9th 2016

Tricia Tongco

One demographic is standing in the way of Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election: white, college-educated GOP women.

The Republican nominee already faces a historic dearth of black and Latino support, so this group of women is essential in capturing the white supermajority Trump needs to to win in November. But recent research from Monmouth reveals that Trump is failing to win them over:

"Among white women with a college degree, though, Trump is actually trailing Clinton by 30 points (27 percent to 57 percent). Romney narrowly won this group by 6 points in 2012 (52 percent to 46 percent)."

Nancy Polanco, who identifies as an evangelical Christian and Republican, is one of the many conservative women not voting for Trump; she is voting for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, a choice she made "kicking and screaming," she said in an interview with ATTN:. To give you an idea of her commitment to her political beliefs, she recalled leaving her church during the 1992 election because her pastor had endorsed Bill Clinton.

"Here I am, 20 years later, voting for Hillary, so that tells you what a conundrum I'm in," Polanco said. "Do you go with somebody who is saying the things you don't believe in versus someone who is just telling you what you want to hear?"


A photo posted by Henry Lin (@henrylinsanity) on

Polanco said that she does not believe Trump is against abortion, pointing out the way he has flip-flopped on the topic. "That is the pain in voting for Hillary for me – I have never voted for a pro-choice candidate in my entire life," she said.

Polanco is not alone: The suspicion over Trump's true values has damaged his appeal to evangelicals, including women, according to Caroline Heldman, a politics professor at Occidental College and co-author of "Rethinking Madame President: Are We Ready for a Woman in the White House?"

"It's pretty obvious he is not religious, even though he's claiming that," Heldman told ATTN:. "He has shifted his position from pro-choice to pro-life, but during the debate, he didn't do a very good job establishing his conservative credentials on the issue of abortion." Republican women have told Held that they are either reluctantly voting for Trump, they are not voting at all, or they are voting for Clinton (albeit maybe in secret).

Polanco said she considers voting for Trump the worst option. "I don't believe he will pick pro-life judges like he says he will," she said. "I definitely think he's a self-serving person, and once he gets that presidential title, he is going to do whatever he wants to do, because that's what he is used to doing."

Polanco initially thought Trump was "a joke" but originally hopped on the Trump bandwagon out of solidarity with her political party, she said. But once conservative politicians, such as neoconservative political analyst and commentator Bill Kristol, started to denounce the Republican nominee, she started to reevaluate her choice.

The final straw? Trump's own words.

"The horrible stuff that comes out of his mouth – human beings shouldn't be saying about each other," Polanco said. "Because of his comments on women and minorities, he certainly comes off as a prejudiced person."

Trump — who has a long history of racist and sexist comments — was caught on tape lewdly boasting about aggressively groping women and trying to get them to have sex with him, saying “when you're a star they let you do it.”

Trump witnessed two sizable drops in support from Republican women after the Republican National Convention and the first presidential debate, Heldman said. His mansplaining and interrupting Clinton during the debate, as well as his other sexist missteps such as his attacking former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, are likely to blame, she added. "As much as Republican women might be in favor of smaller, more limited government, their self interest as a woman is also factor. Some Republican women are not going to vote for a candidate who is openly sexist."

The unprecedented move of Republican women to vote for Clinton is surprising and revealing, Heldman said. "By and large, partisanship overrides the desire to vote for the first female president for Republican women. So the fact that so many Republican women are voting for her is a testament to Donald Trump," she said. "It's a vote against Donald Trump instead of a vote for Hillary Clinton."

That's certainly true for Polanco. "If Trump became president, I'd be most fearful of how other heads of state would view our country, and as a Republican, I believe electing Trump would make us more vulnerable to the rest of the world," she said.

Polanco added: "While I want a president who will represent my core values, I still want someone I can trust as a leader, and there's no trust in him as any sort of a leader. And while I don't like what Hillary stands for, I believe she is a public servant, and I don't believe that about Trump for a second."

[h/t Politico]