Democrats Worry That A Female Candidate Can't Beat Trump: Poll

A new poll has found that the majority of voters don't think a woman can beat President Donald Trump in 2020.

The survey, conducted by All In Together, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing women's civic leadership, found that the majority of the 1,000 respondents believed a Democrat can beat Trump, but gave the current president a 9-point edge when asked to predict the outcome if "the Democratic nominee is a woman."

Still, respondents said they would vote for a female candidate and 58 percent said that "the increase in female candidates has been a good thing for the country." The results make it appear that voters are worried more about electability than their own views on candidates, said Lauren Leader, co-founder and CEO of All In Together, to Newsweek.

"It's not that respondents said they weren't going to vote for a woman, it was about predicting that a woman couldn't win," she said. "We've seen this before, there's a lot of parallels between what we saw in 2007 and 2008 with polls that asked generically 'can a black man or woman become president,'" she said, comparing the early 2020 data to polling before former President Barack Obama's historic win in 2008. "We saw that same kind of dynamic, people said, 'I have no problem voting for a black candidate, but I don't think others will be so keen'... Those numbers barely moved until the election."

The electability narrative, said Leader, has been one spun by the media and then perpetuated in an echo chamber amongst politically-active voters. But, she said, "It is problematic to vet for a candidate based on their ability to be a safe bet. What enabled the Democrats to win such a huge victory in [the 2018] midterms will be critical to winning in 2020. There was a record turnout of young, female and minority voters."

The 2016 Democratic loss, she said, was caused by an enthusiasm gap and an overwhelming electability narrative. Hillary Clinton did, however, win the popular vote in the 2016 general election with more than 3 million Americans opting for the former secretary of state over Trump.

"A game-changing historic candidate has potential, as Obama did in 2008, to turn the election in profound ways. The concern is that these critical Democratic groups don't get that excited about Joe Biden," she said.

Elizabeth Warren
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks to supporters during a campaign stop and town hall at Toad Hill Farm in Franconia, New Hampshire, overlooking the White Mountains on August 14, 2019. JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty