Hillary Clinton was not the only Democrat running for president who was asked, “Do you consider yourself a feminist?” this week. The query was put to Clinton by Lena Dunham and her response was, “Yes, absolutely.” Incidentally, though it received far less fanfare, Bernie Sanders was asked the identical question by a reporter from The Washington Post. His answer was, “Yes.” Sanders went on to explain that, to him, feminism “means a commitment to fighting for women’s rights.” And he said he hopes that message resonates with women on the campaign trail who want to see a woman become the next U.S. president, but who also put women’s issues ahead of that hope.
About a month ago, Women in the World took a look at whether Clinton was experiencing the beginning of a women problem. Multiple news reports had emerged that told of women — particularly young women — who were abandoning Clinton for Bernie Sanders. But Hillary enjoyed a wide lead on Sanders at the time among women voters nationally. A Fox News poll showed she had a 57 percent to 22 percent advantage over. But a month later, that lead has shrunk and now stands at 45 percent to 23 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released this week. Even more troubling for the Clinton campaign, in New Hampshire, the first state to hold a primary, Sanders has opened up a significant lead on Clinton among all voters, 46 percent to 30 percent, according to a CNN poll released on Thursday. More telling, perhaps, is that among women voters in the Granite State, Sanders now holds a tight lead, 39 percent to 37 percent.
“I would also hope that, in these enormously difficult times,” Sanders continued in his interview with The Washington Post, “where it is absolutely imperative that we stand up to the billionaire class, bring our people together, to fight for a progressive agenda, that all people — women — look at the candidate who has the record to do that.”
It appears, for now at least, that Sanders’ message is making inroads with female voters and is fomenting Clinton’s budding women problem.