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 TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade 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 GillibrandThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Biden, Harris set for second Democratic debate showdown Rand Paul accuses Jon Stewart of being 'part of left-wing mob' after criticism over 9/11 victim fund MORE (N.Y.) and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe Hill's Campaign Report: Stage set for second Democratic showdown Biden, Harris set for second Democratic debate showdown Bullock makes CNN debate stage MORE (Hawaii). Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren adds her pronouns to Twitter bio Biden leads, Warren and Sanders tied for second in new poll The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants 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 FrankenTrump's new labor chief alarms Democrats, unions Al Franken: It's time to start taking Trump 'literally' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Mexican officials scramble to avoid Trump tariffs 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