Democrats are still wrestling with one rather uncomfortable question in terms of how the primary race is shaping up in the early stages. We’re in the latest “Year of the Women” as well as the #MeToo era, right? So why are two ancient old white dudes still outperforming all of the qualified women who are running? Elizabeth Warren has been showing some momentum lately and Kamala Harris has manged to at least stay above the background noise level, but Biden and Sanders remain the definite leaders thus far on a national level.
How do we explain this? Well, at least according to some recent reporting at the Daily Beast, the answer should be obvious. The Democratic primary voters around the country are a bunch of sexists.
Sexism is weighing down the women running for the Democratic presidential nomination, a new public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos for The Daily Beast reveals.
A full 20 percent of Democratic and independent men who responded to the survey said they agreed with the sentiment that women are “less effective in politics than men.” And while 74 percent of respondents claimed they were personally comfortable with a female president, only 33 percent believed their neighbors would be comfortable with a woman in the Oval Office.
That latter number, explained Mallory Newall, research director at Ipsos, was a strong tell about how gender dynamics were souring voters on certain candidates. Asking respondents how they believe their neighbors feel about an issue is “a classic method to get around people being reluctant to admit to less popular views.”
It’s tempting to dismiss this sort of analysis right out of the gate because this same Democratic base didn’t seem to have that much trouble nominating Hillary Clinton last time. Granted, it didn’t work out for them very well in the end, but they still nominated a woman who wound up winning both the nomination and the popular vote in the general election, for whatever that’s worth. (Narrator: It wasn’t worth anything.)
But reading the details of the questions used in the linked survey, perhaps there’s more than meets the eye here. Yes, it’s rather shocking that one in five Democrats and left-leaning independents were willing to admit they thought women were “less effective” in politics. Honestly, I’m kind of surprised you’d get anyone to openly admit it in 2019. But it’s the second question that was more interesting.
They asked voters if they thought their neighbors would be comfortable with a female president. Only 33% answered that question in the affirmative. That’s a rather clever way to get around people’s innate reluctance to openly admit to what they know would be an unpopular view. That allows the respondent to basically say, “Oh, I’m totally open-minded and okay with this, but the rest of the people around here? Yeah… they’re kind of a bunch of sexists/racists/homophobes or whatever else.”
Admittedly, this doesn’t qualify as hard data because it requires some reading of the tea leaves to arrive at a conclusion. But if you ask a large enough group of people and almost always manage to miraculously find the only person in the neighborhood who doesn’t harbor some sort of bias, you eventually have to ask what’s really going on.
So what do we think? Is this survey accurate? Are Democrats really a bunch of closet misogynists who don’t think women can handle the top job? We report, you decide.