The conflict between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump over racial and gender issues in Monday’s debate reflects a deep divide in voter attitudes: views on the influence of men, women and racial groups in society are closely related to vote preferences.
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, mainly released Sunday, finds that majorities of Hillary Clinton’s supporters believe minorities and women have too little influence in American society, while half say men and whites have too much influence. For all his outsider appeal, Donald Trump’s supporters, by contrast, are far more apt to endorse the status quo in this regard.
All told, the survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that about half of Americans think women, men and whites have about the right amount of influence in society these days. Fewer -- three in 10 -- say the same about racial and ethnic minorities.
Of the rest, many more say women have too little rather than too much influence (42 vs. 10 percent). The gap also is wide for minorities (40 percent say they have too little influence, 23 percent too much). In contrast, Americans overall are more apt to say men and whites have too much rather than too little influence, 37 vs. 9 percent for men, 34 vs. 12 percent for whites.
The divisions among Clinton and Trump supporters are deep. Two-thirds of Clinton supporters say minorities have too little influence in the country these days, while just 17 percent of Trump supporters agree. Among Clinton supporters, 58 percent say women have too little influence; only 21 percent of Trump’s say the same.
Further, 50 percent of Clinton’s backers say men have too much influence, and 53 percent say the same about whites. That view plummets to 20 and 8 percent, respectively, among Trump voters.
Instead, roughly two-thirds of Trump supporters say women, whites and men alike have about the right amount of influence. Four in 10 Trump supporters say minorities have the right amount of influence -– and as many say they have too much.
These results stand up in a statistical model. Controlling for demographics, partisanship, ideology and presidential approval, seeing too little influence for whites and men and too much influence for minorities and women independently predicts support for Trump. Other than disapproval of Barack Obama, which is by far the best predictor of support for Trump, views of group influence have a similar effect as partisanship, ideology and race.
Holding these pro-Trump views -– that is, seeing too little influence for whites and men and too much influence for minorities and women -– peaks among strong conservatives and core Trump supporters, those who wanted him to win the GOP presidential nomination. It’s also more prevalent among conservatives overall, people who disapprove of Obama’s job performance or feel they’ve gotten worse off financially under his presidency, men and older, less-educated and less well-off Americans.
Conversely, the opinion that whites and men have too much influence, and minorities and women have too little, tops out among strong liberals and those who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary.
Democrats and liberals are more apt to see too little influence for minorities and women, and too much for whites and men, while Republicans and conservatives generally are OK with the current state of affairs. Independents and moderates, as they often do, fall in between.
Education also is a factor. About half of college graduates say minorities and women have too little influence, 15 and 12 percentage points more than non-graduates. And 45 percent of college graduates say whites have too much influence, 15 points more than non-graduates.
Perhaps surprisingly, women are only somewhat more likely than men to say that men have too much power (42 vs. 32 percent) and that women have too little power (46 vs. 39 percent.) Another gap is wider: Minorities are more apt to think that whites have too much influence rather than too little influence (44 vs. 11 percent, peaking at 55-13 percent among blacks). Whites, by contrast, divide 29-12 percent on whether whites have too much or too little influence, with 55 percent it’s about right.
The impact of education and gender is magnified when looking at the two key groups of whites, non-college white men and college-educated white women. Among white women with a four-year degree, 46 percent say whites have too much influence. Among non-college white men, just 21 percent agree. Similarly, while 53 percent of college-educated white women think men have too much influence, only 28 percent of non-college white men feel the same.
This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Sept. 19-22, 2016, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults, including 651 likely voters. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect, for the full sample, and 4.5 points for likely voters. Partisan divisions are 33-23-36 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents, in the full sample, and 37-27-28 among likely voters.
The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y. See details on the survey’s methodology here.