One of the decisive factors that swept Donald Trump to victory in the 2016 presidential election was support from white women — more of them voted for him than they did for Hillary Clinton. But as the midterm elections loom and with 2020 in sight, are white women still supporting Trump the way they did nearly two years ago? And what effect has the episode in Helsinki, Finland, where Trump stood next to Vladimir Putin and said he believed the Russian leader’s repeated denials that his government meddled in the 2016 elections had on their support?
CNN reporter Kyung Lah went to a small town in Wisconsin, a state that was crucial to Trump’s electoral victory and talked to a couple of women who voted for Trump. The town of Kenosha, in a county that Trump won by a mere 255 votes, is precisely the sort of bellwether that could provide insight into what the white woman voting bloc is thinking now.
Lah spoke with Pam Anderson, a retired nurse, who was born and raised in Kenosha. Anderson voted for Obama and then in 2016 went for Trump. How is she leaning looking ahead to 2020? “Not him. I’ve already decided,” Anderson said. “I just don’t feel that he thinks things through before he jumps into them. For me, personally, because I just really don’t trust him. I just really don’t trust him.” She said she now regrets having voted for Trump.
Anderson added that Trump’s performance in Helsinki at the Putin summit left a bad taste in her mouth. “For him to just kind of push it off to the side, like he doesn’t believe it, I think he’s knocking the whole system,” she said.
But another woman Lah spoke to remains unwavering in her support for Trump, despite the president’s rapport with Putin and the other controversies he has stirred up. She believes the strong economy will lead to Trump being re-elected. “I do. I do,” Stewart told Lah when she asked. “I think he’s just, he’s got the steam going. He’s done a great job so far as president and he’s shown us that he continues to persevere beyond the criticism and do what’s right anyways. I think he’s doing a great job, so.”
One interesting issue indirectly raised in Lah’s report is how men who voted for Trump might break in 2020. Lah played a clip of a local radio call-in show in which one unidentified man can be heard saying Trump “is in an embarrassment” and that he will not vote for him again. The show’s host, Dan O’Donnell, downplayed the criticism, however, saying, “Swing voters are notoriously difficult to predict.”
Watch the full report below.