Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Who Are Donald Trump's Female Supporters?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Who Are Donald Trump's Female Supporters?

Article excerpt

How do women view Donald Trump?

A broad swath of American voters aren't fans. But among Republican women, the New York billionaire is hands-down the most popular candidate.

"I see Donald Trump as a protector of America," Beverly Perlson from Aurora, Ill. says in a Tuesday phone interview. "Most mothers are protectors of their children. I don't buy it that women don't support Trump because every woman I talk to absolutely loves him."

In this year's crowded campaign field, Mr. Trump has long been a favorite of Republican women at the polls, and trumps the favorability ratings of remaining GOP candidates Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich. The New Yorker has a 59 percent favorability rating among registered Republican women, according to a CNN/ORC poll in mid-March, compared to 56 for Sen. Cruz and 47 percent for Gov. Kasich.

"He talks from his heart, it is not a memorized script," says Jean Morris, a 75-year-old retired schoolteacher from Largo, Fla. His honesty, his strength, his love for America -- I saw that on day one."

And even as Mr. Cruz has tried to close the gap on Trump's lead by showing he is the women's candidate, bringing his wife and mother on board to warm up his personal image, three March polls conducted by Quinnipiac, CNN/ORC, and Pew found that GOP women still prefer Trump.

"I certainly don't think he is a perfect person, he has made mistakes and had his ups and downs -- but I find that relatable," says Catherine, a 49 year-old from Madison, N.J., who declined to provide her last name for fear of discrimination at her workplace. "I am so tired of [politicians] trying to create this image that will pass with the electorate. His brash honesty is refreshing."

Are these women talking about the same candidate that nationally, according to a recent CNN/ORC poll, only 26 percent of registered female voters view favorably?

Between tweeting an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz to suggest she was less attractive than his wife Melania, saying that women should be punished for having abortions during a CNN interview, calling Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly a "bimbo," supporting a campaign manager charged with battery of a female reporter, and criticizing former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina's face, pundits and comedians don't have difficulty characterizing Trump as sexist -- and his supporters as clueless.

"As a woman, I like Donald Trump, but as a full-blown nut job, I frickin' love him," Cecily Strong said on the most recent Saturday Night Live show while impersonating Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes. To which CNN's Kate Bolduan, played by SNL's Kate McKinnon, replied: "OK, but as a woman, how can you keep defending Mr. Trump?"

But Trump's female supporters insist they are not ignorant, hypocritical, or betraying their gender. …

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