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‘Please like me’: Trump asking suburban women to vote, but are they behind him?

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WATCH: Trump issues appeal to suburban women ahead of election: ‘Please like me." – Oct 22, 2020

Over the past few months of campaigning, U.S. President Donald Trump has been trying to appeal to a demographic he is losing a grip on — suburban women.

And according to Clifford Young, president of Ipsos Public Affairs, the women who are turning away from Trump will either vote for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, or not vote at all.

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In August, Trump warned women in a tweet that if they vote for the Democrats, rampant crime will spread to the suburbs. Days before that in a Wall Street Journal column, Trump and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson said they will stop suburbs from being turned into “dysfunctional cities.”
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More Latinos standing behind Donald Trump in 2020 election – Oct 25, 2020

But Trump has had problems with suburban women voters, many of whom gave him a chance in 2016, as they are now troubled by his child separation policy and his caustic, divisive language, Young explained.

He is losing the suburban female vote and he’s trying to get it back, Young said.

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“It’s very important to him. Suburban, moderately Republican women, it’s a very important voting bloc to the Republican base,” he said.

Last week during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Trump seemed confounded by his unpopularity with that voting base.

“Somebody said ‘I don’t think the suburban women like you, they may not like the way you talk’,” Trump said at the rally. “Suburban women should like me more than anyone here tonight.”

“Suburban women, would you please like me?” he asked. “I saved your damn neighborhood OK — we saved suburbia in the U.S. I think we’re going to see that the women really like Trump a lot.”

Trump had the white women vote in 2016

In 2016, white women — specifically white suburban women — helped vote Trump into the White House.

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According to exit poll data from the New York Times, more than half of the white women who voted in the 2016 presidential election cast their ballot for Trump. Ninety-four per cent of Black women who voted and 68 per cent of Hispanic or Latino female voters chose Hillary Clinton, but 53 per cent of all white female voters picked Trump.

Read more: Who voted for Donald Trump?

“He took most of the base with him in 2016, but they went the other way during the 2018 mid-term elections,” Young said, adding that the president needs to gain some of the votes back in order to have “any path to victory.”

What the polls say now

Trump has tried to appeal to “the suburban housewives of America,” as he called them. But there is no sign of this working.

In a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted on Oct. 6-9, female voters preferred Biden to Trump by 23 points.

In battleground state Michigan, white women with a college degree preferred Biden (62 per cent) to Trump (33 per cent). And white women without a college degree narrowly preferred Biden to Trump, (52 percent to 45 percent) according to an NBC News/Marist poll that was conducted on Sept.19-Sept. 23.

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A Pew Research Center poll conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 5, found that suburban women preferred Biden by 19 points.

Young believes that some women have turned away from Trump for a number of reasons.

“His behaviour, his misogyny, and his policy against the separation of immigrant families have had an important impact for women,” he said. “It’s really an accumulation of things.”

The Trump campaign is using a few strategies to try and bring back the votes of suburban women, Young said, such as promoting Trump’s daughter Ivanka to campaign in key battleground states.

Trump is also using a “law and order game,” which is trying to scare the suburban voters into thinking crime will overflow into their neighborhoods if they don’t vote for Trump, Young added.

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READ MORE: Trump losing support of key demographic ahead of election, polls show

“But none of them have been necessarily effective,” he said.

Sarah Longwell, a Republican strategist who frequently conducts focus groups with people who voted for Trump in 2016, told Politico that the president is running out of time.

“The bottom is falling out for Trump with women and with college-educated voters in the suburbs,” Longwell said. “The only way he can win with numbers like that with women is if there’s this massive surge of white working-class men in some of these key swing states.”

Why the women vote matters

In every U.S. presidential election dating back to 1984, women have turned out to vote at slightly higher rates than men, according to Pew Research Center.During the 2018 mid-term election, women made up about the same share of the electorate as they did in the previous five midterms; 53 per cent of voters were women and 47 per cent were men, Pew Research stated.Lauren Leader, co-founder and CEO of All In Together, a non-partisan voter education group, told CBS News, “Women voters have been driving the election outcomes for the better part of the last 30 years.”
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And this year suburban women in key battleground states, like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, comprise one of the most crucial voting blocs, she said.

“The fact is that American suburbs are now extraordinarily diverse – over 30 per cent of women, people of color, live in American suburbs,” Leader said. “Turnout is everything. And it’s especially everything in those all-important battleground states, where it does often come down to just a few thousand votes.”

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— With files from Reuters