Leslie Marshall: Biden vs. Trump — Women could decide 2020 race. Here's why

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This has been a good week for Joe Biden. His campaign stated that more than $80 million was raised in May, with an additional $6 million from a recent fundraiser with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and $3.5 million more raised with Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

Online contributions have risen as well, tripling over the past few weeks. And although Biden’s cash flow is less than half of the president’s, in 2016 Donald Trump lost the money race but won the presidency.

More good news for the former vice president is his rise in the polls against President Trump. Especially with women, who I believe will be the deciding factor in the November 2020 presidential election. I know my colleague and friend Juan Williams says the black vote will decide both Biden and Trump’s fate, but I disagree.


Recent polling has found Biden ahead of Trump by 15 percent (Drudge Report) and many poo-poo those numbers and polls because Hillary Clinton was ahead in 2016 and lost.

But when you look at Biden’s lead, especially with female registered voters, he has historic high polling numbers among women voters. Biden’s leading with female registered voters by 50 percent to 35 percent. Clinton, a female herself had an advantage, but only 14 percentage points. And, Biden’s point margin among female voters has grown from 19 percent earlier this year to the 25-point margin he currently holds.


Back in 2016, the president only lost women over 45 by 3 percentage points and won over both white women and voters over 45 with 52 percent. But now, Trump’s seeing support waning with women over 45. Biden is leading in this group by 17 points, up from 9 in March, according to the latest ABC/Washington Post poll.

And Biden’s popularity with women is growing in swing battleground states. Although in 2016 Hillary had female support in states like Georgia, Iowa and Texas, Democrats knew they couldn’t win those states. But the latest polls have Biden within striking distance. He is currently tied with Trump in Arkansas and there are whispers that Georgia might turn blue.

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In states like Wisconsin, where everything changed in 2016 in Trump’s favor, Hillary had a 10-point advantage with women over Trump, who only narrowly won that state. Today, Biden holds a 20-point lead with women in Wisconsin. In Virginia, he has a 21-point advantage over Trump with women and is also, although narrowly, leading Trump in Pennsylvania and Michigan with female voters.

Why do so many women support Biden and why have so many of Trump’s female supporters defected? A few reasons.

First, there is a backlash from female voters for Trump’s handling (or lack of handling) if COVID-19. According to an NPR poll, 63 percent of women disapprove of the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID has upticked in many states and in some places, like Miami, they’re even delaying their plan to reopen due to Florida cases spiking.

And that affects the economy, an issue women are very concerned about.  Additionally, most recent polls show numbers as high as 70 percent of Americans even more concerned about a resurgence of the virus this fall and/or winter, women among them.

The president is banking on his campaign for law and order, hoping to appeal to women voters in the very white suburbs, but I think this will backfire.

More than 100,000 small businesses have permanently closed since March. And women feel this impact not just because they’re often the caretakers and homeschoolers, but also because many of them lost their jobs. As C Nicole Mason, president and chief executive of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, put it: “We should go ahead and call this a ‘she-cession.’”

The stats back up that claim. Women accounted for 55 percent of the 20.5 million jobs lost in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, raising the unemployment rate for adult women to about 15 percent from 3.1 percent in February. The unemployment rate for adult men was 13 percent.

The president is banking on his campaign for law and order, hoping to appeal to women voters in the very white suburbs, but I think this will backfire. After the killing of George Floyd, for the first time in our nation, a significant majority of white Americans feel there is a great need for a systemic change. White suburban voters don’t’ want to be viewed as uneducated, racist or mean.

Even some Republican women have said Trump hasn’t risen to the occasion, hasn’t kept his campaign promises, doesn’t support American values and they’re tired of him sounding like a 5-year-old with the name-calling.


The latest primaries were also a good sign of the strength of women for this coming November.  In the eight states that held primaries, there were 122 women on the ballot and 56 of them were successful. In California, the majority of the 27 that ran won as well.

The next president of the United States will be another white guy, but it will be women who are the deciders this time around. And those female voters could be key to ejecting Donald Trump from the White House.