This piece was published by Ms. magazine.
New polling data from The Washington Post and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University shows that the gender gap is shaping the unfolding impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump in even larger numbers than Ms. reported just last week.
According to the national sample of 1,007 adults contacted by phone in the first week of October, a stunning 58 percent of Americans support the House inquiry, and 49 percent said the House should move forward to impeach the President and call for his removal from office. These were the highest recorded levels of support for such actions yet—and large gaps in responses between women and men drove the spike.
Both men and women agree that House lawmakers were right to open the impeachment inquiry—but a 14-point gender gap divided the 51 percent of men who said as much to The Post and the whopping 65 percent of women who responded with the same. Of those who support the inquiry, a 10-point gap emerged between men and women on the question of whether the House should ramp up their efforts—with 54 percent of women saying that lawmakers should impeach Trump and remove him from office, but only 44 percent of men saying the same.
A majority of women and men, 58 percent, also agreed that Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president asking him to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential contender and former Vice President Joe Biden was inappropriate—but a nine-point difference emerged in the responses by gender. In total, 66 percent of women agreed that Trump’s call was inappropriate, compared to 57 percent of men.
Women also narrowly drove the majority opinion, held by 53 percent of all respondents, that lawmakers investigating Trump’s actions are upholding their constitutional duty: 56 percent of women and 51 percent of men agree. Even larger gaps emerge on the question of whether they are taking a necessary stand—with 67 percent of women, compared to 55 percent of men, saying yes. To the question of whether the impeachment was a “distraction” from “more important issues,” 51 percent of women said no, compared to 40 percent of men.
Gaps by age also shaped the results of the poll: 66 percent of respondents between 18 and 39 said lawmakers were right to open the inquiry, and 56 percent called for impeachment and Trump’s removal from office, compared to 49 and 40 percent of respondents over 65 who said the same—resulting in a 17-point gap. Whereas 58 percent of those younger respondents believe these inquiries are part of Congress’ constitutional duties, only 51 percent of their older counterparts agreed; while 65 percent of younger voices declared that the impeachment process was necessary, 57 percent of those over 65 and 58 percent of those between 40 and 64 responded in kind.
These differences may be what led to a massive difference of 12 points dividing the 51 percent of 18 to 39 year-old respondents and the 39 percent of those 65 and up who said the impeachment wasn’t a “distraction.”
What these numbers confirm is what Ms. has been observing throughout the nascent impeachment process taking shape now on Capitol Hill: Women, whether lawmakers or voters, are leading the charge to hold Trump accountable—and, together with young people, they’re forming the frontline in the fight to save our democracy.