‘Stormy Effect’: Trump’s support falls with women, rises with men in new poll

President Trump’s support among women plunged this month as he battled controversies surrounding alleged affairs with the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, according to a new poll.

Support from women fell from 41 percent to 35 percent in the new Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, even as Trump’s support among men rose 3 points to 53 percent.

Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll co-director Mark Penn said the growing gender gap in the poll is the result of the “Stormy Effect.”


“While President Trump’s overall ratings are stable, his support increased among men and dropped among women,” Penn said. “This poll was taken right after the Stormy Daniels interview and so I think this increased gender polarization is the ‘Stormy Effect’.”

In a highly rated “60 Minutes” interview last week, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, detailed an affair she says she had with Trump in 2006, when Melanie Trump was pregnant with their youngest son.

Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen has acknowledged paying Daniels $130,000 just before the 2016 election to not talk about the alleged affair, raising questions among election lawyers about whether the payment violated campaign finance laws.

Trump denies the affair and Cohen says that neither Trump nor the campaign knew about the payment. Still, 58 percent of those surveyed said the special counsel should investigate it.

McDougal has also been speaking out about an affair she says she had with Trump around he same time.

Overall, the poll found Trump’s approval rating holding steady at 44 percent, down only 1 point from last month and up from his December low of 41 percent.

Trump’s numbers in several polls have been on the rise in recent weeks. In a poll by Rasmussen released Monday, his approval rating hit 50 percent. His numbers also improved in recent polls by CNN and The Associated press.

However, the widening gender gap in the poll will cause some alarm among Republicans, particularly given gains by Democrats on the generic ballot that suggest the GOP is facing increased headwinds in the fall midterm elections.

When voters are asked if they want to see the Republican Party or the Democratic Party win control of the Senate, 57 percent of voters said Democrats, including 51 percent of men and 63 percent of women.

Those figures are the same for the House, where Democrats need to pick up 24 seats to win a majority.

That spread narrows slightly when voters are asked if they would vote for a Democratic or Republican candidate in their own district, with 45 percent saying a Democrat and 34 percent saying a Republican. Men are essentially split on that question, but 49 percent of women said they’d vote for a Democrat, compared to only 26 percent who said Republican.

Only 37 percent of voters approve of the job Republicans in Congress are doing, compared to 44 percent for Democrats.

“Republicans in Congress have fallen behind the president as they oppose his working class positions on tariffs and reject his moderate view on keeping guns out of the hands of those over 21,” Penn said. “While Trump is taking positions more closer to Democrats in these issues, Republicans in Congress have isolated themselves and will need to regroup for the midterms.”

The economy is set to be the GOP’s biggest asset heading into the midterm elections.

Forty-six percent say the economy is on the right track, compared to 38 percent who said wrong track. Sixty-nine percent described the economy as very strong or somewhat strong.

A majority approve of the work Trump is doing on stimulating jobs, the economy and fighting terrorism, while the president is underwater on immigration, foreign affairs and administering the government.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,340 registered voters was conducted March 27-29. The partisan breakdown is 37 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 29 percent independent and 4 percent other.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard/Harris Poll throughout 2018.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

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