New polling is out regarding President Trump’s performance. This ABC News/Washington Post poll shows April’s overall job performance approval rating of 40% and a disapproval rating of 56%. The poll also notes that those polled were about evenly split on Trump’s handling of the economy, but that his job approval rating is hindered by the people who do not like him personally. Of the 61% who dislike him personally, “84% also disapprove of his work in office.” It seems that even a recovering economy is not enough to overcome his distastefulness for some people.
However, ABC seems especially interested in the difference in approval ratings and personal favorability ratings between men and women. Women approved of Trump’s job performance at a rate of 32%, while they found him personally unfavorable at a rate of 68%. Men, on the other hand, approved of Trump’s job performance at a rate of 49%, and found him personally unfavorable at a rate of 53%.
Men find Trump unfavorable at a rate of over 50%, so it’s clear he is universally unlikeable, but why do women dislike him at a rate of 15% more than men? Obviously this answer is going to be different for each woman, and will depend on a lot of factors. Of course not all women who do not like Trump personally will agree with any of these reasons, and it should go without saying that there are 32% of women who like Trump, so this analysis does not apply to those women at all.
There’s an unwritten justification for all jocular behavior among men. We do it because we can. The guy at the gym who walks around flexing his pecs needs no other excuse. Pec flexing and moral preening both accomplish very little other than to make those within view nod impressively at the display of power.
Although this was in reference to the Syrian strikes, I think it is a great example of what many women do not like about Trump. He does a lot of figurative "pec flexing and moral preening." While some men may find the display of power impressive, many women find it off-putting. Such displays often signal more insecurity than confidence, and women are more interested in the latter than in any de facto power that could be wielded in any number of ways: morally or immorally; righteously or self-righteously; charitably or sinfully; protectively or intimidatingly; in a motivating manner or in a bullying manner. In too many cases, Trump’s displays seem to fall more on the unfavorable side, and women don’t react well to those sorts of displays of power.
For some women, the dislike stems from relationships, often abusive, that they have had with men like Trump. The narcissistic behavior that Trump often displays can be enormously damaging in personal relationships, even leading to PTSD in some women who have dealt with such men for years. There may be some redeemable aspects to this sort of behavior in the governance of a country. However, if a woman who has been in relationship with a narcissist to the extent that she ends up emotionally harmed sees in Trump some of the traits that made her partner so unbearable, she is bound to recoil from Trump instinctively, no matter how beneficial his economic policies are.
Then there are the women who believe the multiple claims of abuse, and feel a connection to the accusers because they have been similarly abused. Whether the claims are true or not is irrelevant to women who have suffered abuse. They may simply reject someone perceived as an abuser because they understand the trauma involved.
Certainly, there are other reasons that women dislike Trump personally. Many more are reasons shared equally with the 53% of men who also dislike him personally, and these alone could fill another whole article, or more. The reasons given here are a few unique reasons that 15% more women than men may dislike Trump personally. It is possible, based on the ABC poll’s analysis, that if Trump could tone down some of his more unfavorable personality traits, his job approval ratings could increase as well. Ultimately, as much as the media care, it is unclear how much Trump really cares about his approval or favorability ratings.