There are a lot of ways someone can determine which party or candidate someone supports based on their economic background, education level, or racial demographics. Yet, one key predictor of whether someone supports Donald Trump or not is disliking or distrusting women.
A group of political scientists have studied the relationship between sexism and Trump support and made a connection that most cynics would easily predict.
[Researchers Carly Wayne, Nicholas Valentino and Marzia Oceno’s] research, conducted in June, found hostility toward women was a major factor, predicting support for Trump more strongly than authoritarian attitudes and about as well as racial prejudice. The political scientists used a four-question survey to determine sexist attitudes [by asking four questions about women and feminism].
The survey also asked how strongly respondents supported Clinton or Trump. The higher they were on the sexism scale, the more likely they were to support Trump and the less likely they were to support Clinton. Hostile sexism was nearly as good at predicting support for Trump as party identification was.
Surprisingly, this is not a new phenomenon. Research from the past two Presidential elections found that hostility towards feminism and antiquated ideas about gender roles were closely tied to not being willing to support her as a presidential candidate.
The conventional wisdom about this is that while sexists surely don’t support Hillary Clinton, obviously not all of her detractors are sexists. Yet, this research suggests that the most common denominator between Trump supporters is that they have a hostility towards women, at least in a political context.
Ran a hostile sexism battery on recent NH poll. Here is the effect of sexism on vote for Romney in 2012 & Trump in 2016. Big difference. pic.twitter.com/g5jytx8fqq
— Brian Schaffner (@b_schaffner) October 27, 2016
Still, 2016 is outlier year when it comes to sexism. Political scientist from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Brian Schaffner tweeted the above chart showing that New Hampshire voters’ attitudes towards women are playing a much more drastic role today than four years ago.
One final point worth mentioning is that “benevolent sexism,” or the more traditional ideas that women are “purer than men” or “more in need of protection” also predicted past GOP support. Yet this year, the correlation for hostile sexism is much higher than for those men who still believe “chivalry” was a great idea.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.