Twenty-twenty is the year of the female voter. The centennial of that right being ratified in the Constitution is turning out to also be the year when women are driving the election and the issues.
Women are turning out in droves to vote, standing in lines for hours, and could make history ushering in “the largest gender gap of any presidential election since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment granted women the right to vote a century ago,” wrote James Hohman in The Washington Post on September 29th. Female voters prefer Former Vice President Joe Biden by 31%, and male voters prefer President Trump by 13%. If 2016 is a starting point for comparison, women will out-vote men in 2020, just as they did in 2016, by a difference of 63% to 59%.
Twenty-twenty is also the first year a woman of color is on the ballot for Vice President – at a time when racial inequality dominates the country’s zeitgeist, alongside covid-19 – and a year when more women candidates are on the ballot for U.S. House and Senate seats than ever before (both major parties combined), as 37.9% of House candidates and 23.9% of Senate candidates.
Women’s top issues – “The era of the climate voter has arrived.”
Women’s top issues in 2020 are healthcare and Covid-19, the economy and climate change. Women have always been focused on healthcare as a top issue and it looms bigger than ever this year in the midst of a pandemic that is still out of control eight months into it and that thrust the economy into a tailspin. Women who lean toward Biden blame Trump for mishandling both the pandemic and the economy, and resent that he has been trying both in Congress and the courts to end the Affordable Care Act, taking healthcare away from about 23 million people.
Women are more focused on climate change than male voters, especially female Democratic voters. It could be due to the plethora of extreme weather events from wildfires to hurricanes upending their lives and data showing these events are linked to climate change.
“The era of the climate voter has arrived. This may be news to people…but these are the facts: climate change is now a top-three voter priority, climate voters are turning out in unprecedented numbers, and battleground state voters of all stripes are deeply concerned about the climate crisis. In 2020, politicians ignore climate voters at their peril,” wrote Nathaniel Stinnett on WBUR.com in September, seven months into the pandemic.
Pew reported just two weeks ago that 68% of voters still say climate change is important to their vote, even eight months into the pandemic. In a tight race, that could tip the scale.