"This is the United States and she should absolutely have the right to go ahead," said Linda Seditsky, a retired teacher from Queens, N.Y., who supports Clinton. "It is ridiculous the way people have talked about her looks or her clothes. No one ever talks about McCain being bald. There is this negativity around her and a lot of it comes from the media, writing her off and saying she doesn't have a chance."
In an ABC News-Washington Post poll, nearly a quarter of Clinton supporters said if she loses, they will vote for Republican nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona over Obama.
For now, however, polling data indicate female Clinton supporters are no more likely to vote for McCain over Obama than male supporters.
"I'm torn. I don't know what I'm going to do," said Seditsky. "I don't want to vote for McCain, but I would find it very difficult to vote for Obama."
Lovell said Clinton's defeat would not spell a defeat for feminism or a future female presidential candidate.
"Women will always have to work harder than men to prove their competence. A man would never be subjected to the same treatment," she said. "It will be hugely disappointing to many women if Clinton is unable to go the distance. But there are plenty of very strong women in public office and other venues who will pick up the torch. Without a doubt, a woman will be president."