Dem voters split on importance of women atop the ticket in 2020

As more Democrats signal they plan to run for president in 2020, a poll released Friday found that party voters are almost evenly split on the importance of nominating a woman to challenge President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE.

Fifty-three percent of Democratic voters in The Hill-HarrisX poll said it would be important to them to see a woman nominated for president or vice president. Twenty-seven percent said it would be important to have a woman as their presidential nominee, while 26 percent said it would be important to have a woman in one of the top two positions on the ticket.

The sampling margin of error among Democratic voters was 5.1 percentage points.

Among all voters, 64 percent said that they do not consider it important for a woman to be the Democratic presidential nominee. Twenty percent said that it did not matter, so long as the party nominated a woman for vice president.

Women were more interested in seeing a female nominee, but a majority did not consider it essential. Fifty-nine percent of them said it wouldn't be important for the party to choose a woman for president or vice president, while 41 percent said it would be.

Sixty-eight percent of male voters said it would not be important to them for Democrats to have a woman on their presidential ticket. Thirty-two percent said it would be valuable to them to see a woman as the party's presidential or vice presidential pick.

An overwhelming majority of Republican voters, 82 percent, said that it would not be important to them for Democrats to nominate a woman. Independents were somewhat more interested, with 66 percent saying it was not important for Democrats to pick a woman to be president or vice president.

"I think what we learned from 2016 is that voters will bristle at the idea that they're going to vote for someone just because they're a woman," Pia Nargundkar, a Democratic political consultant from ALG Research said Friday on Hill.TV's "What America's Thinking."

Six Democrats have thrown their hats into the ring for the 2020 race, and two of them are women: Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' MORE (N.Y.) and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardDNC punts on measure to reduce role of corporate PAC money NBC, CNN to host first two Democratic presidential primary debates Exclusive: Biden almost certain to enter 2020 race MORE (Hawaii). Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' MORE (Mass.) has announced an exploratory committees, a step that usually precedes an official candidacy declaration.

"I'm going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom, I will fight for your children as hard as I would fight for my own," Gillibrand said at a Jan. 16 campaign event.

The New York Democrat made headlines when she spoke out against former President Clinton and called for former Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenVirginia can be better than this Harris off to best start among Dems in race, say strategists, donors Virginia scandals pit Democrats against themselves and their message MORE (Minn.) to resign after several women accused him of sexual misconduct.

During the party's 2016 presidential nominating contest, 58 percent of Democratic primary and caucus voters were women and 42 percent were men, according to exit poll data.

The latest Hill-HarrisX poll was conducted Jan. 12-13 among 1,001 registered voters and had a sampling margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. The sampling margin of error among Republican and independent voters was 5.5 percentage points and 5.8 percentage points, respectively.

—Matthew Sheffield