Why Are Women Abandoning Their Support For Hillary Clinton?

Jessica Renae Buxbaum
A new survey found that support for Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton has overwhelmingly dropped for women voters.

Hillary Clinton presidential campaign

A new survey found that support for Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton has overwhelmingly dropped for women voters. Why are so many women ditching the possible first female president?

In a Washington Post/ABC poll released Monday, 42 percent of Democratic women voters support Clinton — a 29 percent drop from July. Twenty-four percent support Vice President Joe Biden (a politician who is rumored to run, but has yet to even announce his bid for president), and 22 percent support progressive guru Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The divide was clear not among young and older voters, but rather along racial lines. Clinton’s support is dropping among white women with only 37 percent behind her, while women of color remain by her side at a strong 60 percent.

A CNN/ORC poll done in December 2014 showed Clinton entering the race with 75 percent of women considering a vote for the candidate, but the politician’s stellar advantage took a severe 180 as her campaign struggled to stay on top with her email scandal and Sanders’ soaring popularity. The dramatically declining support from women (a group the Clinton campaigned assumed she had on lockdown) raises eyebrows as to why she is failing with her key constituency.

"None of these women will back Clinton just because they feel like they have to because she is a woman," Kelly Dittmar, a scholar at the Center for Women and Politics at Rutgers University said in an interview with NBC News. "Many didn't do so in 2008, and they won't in 2016 if they identify another candidate who they view as better or more viable."

The narrow-minded assumption that Clinton’s gender is enough to sway a vote in her her favor is falling short. Clinton being a woman is not the defining prerequisite to get her elected. Of course, we want to see a woman in the White House, but we want the right woman — and many women voters don’t see Clinton as the right fit.

“…I’d rather wait another eight, or 12, or 16 years for another woman to run,” colleg student Maya Chenevert told the Washington Post. “I totally swayed my mom, who has liked Hillary since 2008. She was so excited about a woman. She still would love to see a woman, but she doesn’t think Hillary is the right woman.”

As Clinton’s email controversy is more and more scrutinized by the media, the wave of criticism ensues to the public as well.

The political scandal of the summer caused 51 percent of women to view Clinton as doing something wrong by using a private server, according to a CNN August survey.

“They don’t trust her, and they don’t see her projecting confidence in herself, in them, or in the future of the country,” Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster for the Ted Cruz campaign, told the Daily Beast

And as support wanes for Clinton, the slack is scooped up by fellow opponent and presidential underdog Sanders who is sailing past her in New Hampshire and Iowa polls.

Recommended: Bernie Sanders Has The Youth Vote, But Can He Win The Black Vote Too?

And the best part is, women don’t feel they are leaving women’s issues behind by supporting the populist candidate, who has advocated for abortion rights, paid family leave and equal pay, according to the Washington Post.

“I do understand there is a desire on the part of many women, perfectly understandable, to see a woman being elected president. And we all want to see that. We want to see women hold more political offices," Sanders said.

“But I also would hope that in these enormously difficult times, where it is absolutely imperative that we stand up to the billionaire class, bring our people together to fight for a progressive agenda, that all people — women — look at that candidate who has the record to do that,” Sanders said, tooting his horn and again touting the “right woman” rhetoric.

Clinton still stands strong as the Democratic frontrunner but the heated coverage her campaign has received from the email scandal combined with Sanders’ progressive ideals that are resonating with liberal voters is spiraling the “women’s candidate” rapidly out of the lead. 

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