Female candidates scrutinized more than men on likability, says pollster

Pollster Mallory Newall told Hill.TV on Wednesday that female candidates have to deal with the issue of likability on the campaign trail more so than male candidates.

"There is a certain likability threshold for women candidates that is expected of them," Newall, research director of Ipsos Public Affairs, told "What America's Thinking" host Jamal Simmons.

"Men don't necessarily have to meet that same, 'Well, do people like you?' threshold," she added.

Former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE was often scrutinized during her 2008 and 2016 presidential bids for her demeanor, personality and appearance, at times more than her male opponents.

However, the field of women running in 2020 is much larger than previous election years, with candidates like Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats face critical 72 hours The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Democrats inch closer to legislative deal This week: Democrats aim to unlock Biden economic, infrastructure package MORE (D-Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisObama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech Biden's safe-space CNN town hall attracts small audience, as poll numbers plummet MORE (D-Calif.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandWhich proposals will survive in the Democrats' spending plan? Proposals to reform supports for parents face chopping block Under pressure, Democrats cut back spending MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe perfect Democratic running mate for DeSantis? Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition MORE (D-Hawaii).

Jess McIntosh, a Clinton communications aide in 2016, told The Guardian last month that the field of women in the 2020 cycle has drawn attention to the likability question again, but in a different way compared to earlier presidential campaigns.

“I think in 2016, the idea that ‘likable’ was gendered wouldn’t have even come up. In 2019, people clearly recognized it and called it out,” McIntosh said. “The thing that makes me the most hopeful about intractably sexist media coverage is that with multiple women candidates in the race it becomes really obvious what women have to deal with.”

— Julia Manchester