Before the election, there was widespread expectations that Trump had lost support among women, especially suburban women, and the elderly. As far as the women’s vote is concerned, that prediction does not seem to have been borne out
Before the election, Trump was widely mocked for the sort of desperate, tone-deaf comments he made in that Michigan speech, while polls predicted the president’s support among female voters would crater in a fatal blow to his and his party’s election hopes. But those predictions were mostly wrong. According to exit polls, Trump did one point better with women as a whole than in 2016, five points better with both black and Hispanic women, and three points better with white women. In a year with record voter turnout, those gains weren’t enough to match Joe Biden’s numbers, but the president can console himself with the fact that, come January, he will have helped put a record number of Republican women to work in the halls of Congress.
The 2020 election shows there are signs that the GOP is evolving — in the sense that wildlife in the fallout zone “evolved” after Chernobyl. The Republican Party didn’t much improve its demographic makeup this year — members who have promoted the deranged QAnon delusion now outnumber black Republicans in the House of Representatives — but at least 35 Trump-loving Republican women were elected, five more than the party’s previous record. As the president is forced to leave, spitting and screaming, his toxic, pugilistic brand of politics will live on in those women: paranoid conspiracists, partisan firebrands, and ardent Trump loyalists — a lot more Sarah Palin, and a lot less Margaret Chase Smith.
There still existed, in 2016 and even 2018, Republican candidates who deemed it prudent to put distance between themselves and the president, but not in 2020. The women who ran and won this year did so by emphatically embracing both Trump and Trumpism — even when the feeling wasn’t necessarily mutual.
As with Latinx and black and Asian voters, while there was a slight relative shift towards Trump, what sank him was that overall vote totals surged is all groups and this more than compensated for his slight gains in percentage share, as Juan Gonzalez pointed out and has been supported by other analyses.
This is a fairly common common statistical curiosity that one can see elsewhere. For example, there have been years where the average SAT scores for all ethnic groups of students separately rose but the overall average for all the students declined. How can that be? Because when the number of people taking the test in the low-scoring groups increase more than those in the higher scoring groups, their weightage in calculating the overall score increases but the rise in their average scores is not sufficient to overcome the downward pressure of the increased weightage.