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Trump struggling with key female demographic - especially middle class women

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By Nial O'Reilly
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Trump struggling with key female demographic - especially middle class women
Copyright  AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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It was one of the major surprises of the 2016 election; the level of support Donald Trump received from women, who proved to be the key to victory.

But four years on, polls show the president is losing votes in this demographic. The decline is particularly evident among middle class women, despite his campaign's best efforts and daughter-in-law Lara launching 'Women for Trump' over a year ago, a coalition dedicated to recruiting and activating women.

This problem area for him is a fact sarcastically acknowledged by Trump himself at a rally in Johnstown, Pennyslvania in October:

"Suburban women will you please like me!" I saved your damn neighbourhood, ok?"

Defectors cite various reasons, ranging from his general leadership style to more specific issues including his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and race relations, especially in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

Texas resident Shawna Jensen voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

She now regrets her choice:

"I feel if there's a wrong, I need to right it. And I was wrong in voting for him in 2016. And so I want to make it right."

AP
"I feel if there's a wrong, I need to right it. And I was wrong in voting for him in 2016. And so I want to make it right." - Shawna Jensen, former Trump supporterAP

But Trump does still have the backing of those women who appreciate what they see as his upholding of conservative values.

Suzanne Blades, from Philadelphia, is one of those women:

"I'm supporting him because I feel that his base fundamentals are rooted in American history and what our forefathers wanted to build for America.

"I feel that the opposition is really trying to undermine our society as we have it today."

AP
"I feel that his base fundamentals are rooted in American history and what our forefathers wanted to build for America." - Suzanne Blades, Trump supporterAP

Surveys show Trump losing ground in the nation's suburbs, and not just among women there. These traditional Republican bastions have become more racially mixed over the years and are edging towards the political centre. Historically high turnout areas, doing well here here is vital for both parties to secure a presidential victory.

Older people are another prized group of people who can be relied upon to vote. They helped Trump over the line in 2016, but now he's battling to retain their support, with many dismayed at his response to the pandemic.

The apparent shifts in all these key voting blocs may be encouraging for Democrats - but they'll count for nothing if the polls are wrong again.