Is Trump turning the GOP into the 'Man Party'?

As Donald Trump edges closer to a possible Republican nomination for president, polls show him doing poorly among women – even Republican women.

Jim Bourg/Reuters/File
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke after winning the New Hampshire primary in February with his wife, Melania, at his side.

Is Donald Trump turning the GOP into the “Man Party”?

OK, this question is a bit exaggerated, as Mr. Trump does have female supporters. Republican women by the thousands won’t be re-registering as Democrats if he’s the party’s presidential nominee.

But The Donald’s image among women in general, and Republican women in particular, is historically bad and getting worse. The GOP is already struggling to attract minority voters. Trump threatens to layer an unprecedented gender gap onto this racial divide.

For instance, in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 47 percent of Republican female voters agreed that they “could not imagine themselves voting for Trump.” In other words, almost half the women in Trump’s own party don’t like him. A lot.

Among women as a whole, his numbers are worse. Seventy-five percent of female voters now have an unfavorable view of Trump, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. That’s up from 64 percent in November.

Yes, favorable/unfavorable ratings can bounce around and aren’t necessarily indicative of voting patterns. But when you’re disliked by three-quarters of an entire gender, that’s ... amazing. It’s an electoral problem beyond yuugge. No wonder the Republican Party establishment appears to be in a state of panic.

How would this play out if the general election were today? According to a new Fox News head-to-head matchup, Trump and Hillary Clinton would tie among male voters, 43 to 43 percent. Trump would lose women 53 to 34 percent (!) and lose overall by 11 percentage points.

So in other words, President Hillary Clinton.

By way of contrast, Mitt Romney lost women by 12 percentage points in 2012, according to Gallup data. In the poll cited above, Trump loses them by 19 points.

Yet Trump does not seem to be interested in addressing this gender gap. He instead continues to campaign as if the American electorate were composed of Howard Stern listeners. How else to explain the bizarre battle between Trump and Ted Cruz over wives?

True, it was started by a super PAC aligned with Senator Cruz, which circulated an ad with a risqué photo of Trump’s wife, Melania, on Facebook prior to this week’s Utah primary.

But Trump upped the ante, as he often does. He threatened to reveal unspecified information about Cruz’s wife, Heidi. Then he retweeted a photo that contrasted an unflattering image of Heidi Cruz with that of former model Melania Trump.

“The images are worth a thousand words,” the caption said.

Given the ratio of supermodels to non-supermodels in the female population, this seems a great way to lose more women’s votes. It’s perhaps indicative that the Cruz-supportive super PAC that started the whole thing says it’s delighted with Trump’s reaction.

“Obviously, we have no regrets about running the ad, and may even run some more over-the-top ones we’ve been considering, mostly just to annoy Trump,” said Make America Awesome cofounder Liz Mair in a statement on Friday.

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